A FORMER Scottish Tory minister has taken aim at the 31 Conservative MSPs wanting Boris Johnson to resign as the civil war in the party intensifies.

Colin Clark, who unseated Alex Salmond to become MP for Gordon in 2017, but then lost his seat to the SNP in 2019, launched an attack on the Holyrood parliamentary group over their attempt to oust the Prime Minister.

He said he was "bitterly disappointed" and appeared to suggest their actions were weakening the Union, before telling fellow Tories "the real enemy is the SNP, remember". 

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"Influence is about building bridges not burning the house down. 31 SCUP (Scottish Conservative and Union Party) MSPs apparently all support regicide, where does that leave Conservatives who back Westminster and the PM?

"Does this make the Union bonus, supporting the UK Conservative party that is in power stronger or weaker?" he wrote on a private social media group with the message leaked to the BBC.

"For the sake of the Union I truly hope trust can be rebuilt. Having walked the corridors of power I am bitterly disappointed it came to this. The real enemy is the SNP, remember."

Responding to a post on Twitter highlighting Clark's comments, the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged the former MP to be careful over his language.

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"The real enemy is the SNP and here is me thinking the Scots Tories are opponents but not enemies. Language is important, so is respect," wrote Blackford.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross called on Wednesday for Johnson to step down as PM after he admitted attending a drinks party at Downing Street in May 2020, during the first lockdown.

At the time only two people were allowed to gather outdoors under coronavirus restrictions. Johnson insists the event was for work and that the garden an extension of the office.

Ross's demand prompted a furious reaction from senior members of the Tory Cabinet with Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg describing the Scottish Conservative leader as a "lightweight".

Then Scottish Secretary Alister Jack defended Ross saying he was a "serious figure", though Jack underlined that he continued to have confidence in the PM.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories' feud after Colin Clark blocked from Holyrood by Ruth Davidson

Clark was at the centre of controversy in February last year when it emerged former Scottish Tory party leader Ruth Davidson blocked him from standing as a Holyrood candidate that May.

He lost his Westminster seat to the SNP's Richard Thomson by a narrow majority of 819 votes and wished to make a political comeback in the Scottish Parliament.

However, his application was rejected by Davidson’s candidate committee.
The committee said Clark had “a poor record working with others”. One source told the Press and Journal: “In just two years, [Clark] managed to fall out with most of the party.”

The former MP told the paper he was “absolutely stunned” to have been turned down, as he had been encouraged to put his name forward by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, among other high-ranking colleagues.

Clark said the committee’s decision seemed “very personal and very political”, and suggested it may have been because of his support for both Brexit and Boris Johnson.

The National:

He went on: “Douglas Ross, when he became leader, suggested I stand for Holyrood. Douglas has a difficult job to do and this argument is simply not necessary.

“Unionists should not be disunited going into the election. Disagreements about Boris Johnson and Brexit should be in the past.”

The committee also reportedly cited a “lack of campaigning” on Clark’s part as a reason for his rejection.

The Tory, who formerly served as a parliamentary under-secretary for Scotland, said the claim was “inaccurate”.

Clark suggested his support of Boris Johnson's Brexit was a factor in his rejection

He said: “Having been a minister in Boris Johnson’s Government, a senior whip, fought in six elections in four years, worked tirelessly to promote Gordon and increased the Conservative vote in 2019, I believed I had earned my party’s support.

“I had hoped to serve the north east at Holyrood but a committee of four deemed I was not suitable and without recourse.”