FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has attacked Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives for “enabling” Boris Johnson’s behaviour.

The wider UK Conservatives have recently clashed with the Scottish Tories after Ross and his MSPs called for Johnson to resign following numerous reports of Downing Street parties taking place while Covid rules were in force.

After Ross intervened, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted he was a “lightweight” figure in politics – while Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove dismissed him, pointing out that the Moray MP was in Elgin while the Prime Minister is governing the whole of the UK from London.

The National:

The difference in views has prompted a major row, with Rees-Mogg being urged to apologise by a former senior civil servant.

Philip Rycroft, former permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, said his “heart sank” when he heard the remarks, adding Rees-Mogg’s comments showed an “immeasurable ignorance, frankly, about what's going on in Scotland at the moment”.

Scotland’s First Minister was questioned about the ongoing row and continuing calls for Johnson to resign during an appearance on Sky News on Monday morning.

“It’s not just about Boris Johnson the individual,” she said. “It’s about a Conservative Party that enabled and facilitated somebody like Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister in the first place.

“It’s not as if these character flaws that people are now seeing very clearly in Boris Johnson weren’t known about before.

“So yeah, Douglas Ross has now called for his resignation. But Douglas Ross enthusiastically supported Boris Johnson in his attempt to become leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.”

Back in 2019, during the Tory leadership election, Ross announced he would be voting for Johnson in the second round of the contest. His preference in the first round was Mark Harper, who was eliminated after securing support from just 3.2% of MPs.

Ross said in a tweet: “Since the first round result I've spoken with many of the candidates and decided, with the breadth of support they have across the party and their vision for the future of our country, today I will @BackBoris."

He also wrote for the Scotsman setting out how Johnson would "strengthen the Union by delivering Brexit".

Sturgeon went on: “And of course for Scotland, frankly, there’s a bigger issue at stake here. That we have prime ministers and governments in Scotland that are elected regardless of what people in Scotland think.

"People in Scotland haven’t voted majority, or anywhere close to that, Conservative, for my entire lifetime. And yet for most of my lifetime we’ve been governed by Tory governments.

“There’s a systemic democratic deficit at the heart of how Scotland is governed, which is one of the many reasons, as you know, I support Scotland becoming an independent country so we can choose our own governments rather than having governments we don’t want foisted upon us.”

Meanwhile on Monday morning, a Cabinet minister dismissed suggestions that there is a concerted effort to save the Prime Minister from censure over the partygate scandal.

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Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he does not recognise “that language about red meat or big dogs” after it was reported that “populist” policies are to be pushed by the Government in a bid to allow Boris Johnson to survive the furore.

But reports have suggested that, under a move dubbed “Operation: Save Big Dog”, Johnson will overhaul his top team and focus on “red meat” policies, including putting the military in charge of preventing small boats from crossing the Channel.

Zahawi told BBC Breakfast: “Honestly, I don’t recognise that at all.”

He added: “Government doesn’t operate like that.”