SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross has withdrawn his letter to the 1922 Committee demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation over Downing Street parties.

Ross was slammed as having the “backbone of a jellyfish” as he revoked his call for Boris Johnson to step down.

In January, amid a series of party scandals surrounding the Prime Minister, a police investigation and growing pressure for him to quit, Ross said Johnson must step down.

This sparked a row between the UK and Scottish Tories, with Jacob Rees-Mogg branding the Moray MP a “lightweight” political figure.

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But over the following weeks, as Johnson clung on to power with the media turning to focus on the Ukraine invasion over the partygate row, Ross and his Tory MSPs went quiet on their call. Ross was accused of a “humiliating climbdown” over his demand.

In February, it emerged that Johnson would be speaking to the Scottish Tory conference via video link. And finally on Thursday, it was announced that the Tory chief would be addressing the Aberdeen gathering in person.

Just hours later, it emerged that Ross would be withdrawing his letter to the 1922 Committee of backbenchers calling for Johnson’s resignation.

Speaking about his announcement on Thursday, the MP said the middle of “an international crisis is not the time to be discussing resignations, unless it’s the removal from office of Vladimir Putin”.

He added: “There will be a time and place to debate partygate but, as even Keir Starmer said at the weekend, we should put that on pause while there is war in Europe.

“It’s essential that we all fully support what the UK Government is doing. In light of Russia’s appalling actions, the Government and Prime Minister need our backing, and they have mine and the whole Scottish Conservative Party.

The National:

Ross said discussions of partygate should be 'paused' because of the Ukraine invasion

“We should all be focused on what we can do to help the Ukrainian people in any capacity.”

Opposition parties immediately jumped on the U-turn.

Responding to reports that Douglas Ross has withdrawn his letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson following repeated rule-breaking, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said: "This is an utterly humiliating U-turn for Douglas Ross.

"Only a few weeks ago he was categorical that Boris Johnson should be removed from Downing Street over his repeated rule-breaking.

"Now apparently he will roll out the carpet for the Prime Minister at the Scottish Conservative conference and pretend that the no-confidence letter that he submitted with such fanfare never happened.

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“And of course, the entire Tory MSP group at Holyrood backed Douglas Ross in his demand that Boris Johnson quit - so they will no doubt be furious that he has marched them up a hill and now left them looking ridiculous.

"And the Tories’ weasel words that this isn’t the time to pursue such issues is beyond hypocritical – this time last year they tabled a no-confidence motion in the First Minister in the midst of a raging pandemic.

“It is ironic that, having tried to get his boss removed from office, spineless Douglas Ross has ended up catastrophically undermining his own position – and is no doubt on borrowed time as the apparent ‘leader’ of the Scottish Tories.”

Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar released a statement arguing that the Ukraine situation did not mean Ross should change his mind.

The National:

Ross has withdrawn his letter to the 1922 committee calling for Johnson's resignation

"We are right to be defending democracy in Ukraine, but that doesn't mean we stop doing democracy at home,” he said.

"This is a Prime Minister that has broken his own laws and shown contempt for the people of the UK.

"Douglas Ross should not be using the Ukraine crisis to go back on his principles.

“He knows Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister.

"The United Kingdom, including Scotland, deserves better."

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And former Scottish LibDem chief Willie Rennie said: “Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives have the backbone of a jellyfish.

“Their limited welcome betrays a deep embarrassment that they are lumbered with a Prime Minister that they are ashamed of because of his double standards over parties in Downing Street.

“It is difficult to change Prime Minister in the midst of an international crisis when we should be focusing on assisting the people of Ukraine but he should have been gone long before now.”