DOUGLAS Ross is being urged to show up in Parliament to back an investigation into allegations Boris Johnson lied to MPs about the parytgate scandal.

According to the Times, the Scottish Tory leader will defy an order from Conservative whips to attend a crunch vote on Thursday on referring the Prime Minister to the Commons Privileges Committee to be investigated for contempt.

It is understood the Moray MP and Highlands and Islands MSP will instead attend First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Ross – who has U-turned on calls for Johnson to resign over the scandal – has been “all over the place” on the issue.

He is calling for the Scottish Tory chief to head to Westminster to side with opposition MPs and disgruntled Tory backbenchers to force a probe into the Prime Minister.

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Blackford spoke to BBC Good Morning Scotland (GMS) on Tuesday. The hosts said no Scottish Tory politician was willing to go on the show.

The SNP MP said: “He has to be answerable to his own electorate but this is the situation that he has got himself into, that he's an MP in Westminster and an MSP in the Scottish Parliament.

“But this is a serious matter. And it's one of course let's not forget, I think Douglas Ross has been all over the place on this, because he seems to think that the Prime Minister has got questions to answer but he's not prepared to vote tomorrow [Thursday] to make sure that this Prime Minister is held to account.”

He added: “This man, the Prime Minister, undermines democracy. When you've got someone that behaves in this way, is cavalier in his approach to office, someone that's not fit for purpose to be Prime Minister. Then Douglas Ross should be there, exercising his vote and making sure this man is held to account properly by the Privileges Committee.”


Blackford repeated his calls for Johnson to quit, saying there “is a very clear case now that the Prime Minister has not just broken the law, that he has misled Parliament”.

He continued: “What you have with this Prime Minister is a sense that the rules don’t apply to him, that he is above the law, that he can do as he pleases.

“He treats Number 10, he treats the office of being Prime Minister, as a personal plaything, and for him this is over.”

Ross had previously called for Johnson to quit over lockdown parties in Westminster, but the Scottish Conservative leader later withdrew a letter of no confidence, saying the conflict in Ukraine made it important for him to remain in charge at Downing Street. That comes despite the Prime Minister having to pay a fixed penalty notice for breaching his own Covid rules.

After Johnson apologised to MPs in Parliament on Tuesday, Ross said: “I’ve said this behaviour was unacceptable but I’m equally clear that the United Kingdom has been Ukraine’s strongest ally against Vladimir Putin. Destabilising the UK in the face of Russian aggression, as Keir Starmer wants to do, would be the wrong move.”

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Johnson – who is skipping Thursday's vote to press ahead with a trade visit to India – insisted he did not intentionally mislead Parliament with his earlier denials of rule-breaking parties. 

Afterwards, he was told to resign by senior Conservative MP Mark Harper.

The former chief whip told Johnson he is no longer “worthy” of being Prime Minister during a heated Commons debate.

Addressing the House as it returned from its Easter recess, the Tory leader apologised dozens of times for the “mistake” that saw him fined by police over the event in No 10 for his birthday in June 2020.

“Let me also say, not by way of mitigation or excuse but purely because it explains my previous words in this House, that it did not occur to me then or subsequently that a gathering in the Cabinet Room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules,” he said.

“I repeat that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”

The National: Boris Johnson defends his actions in the Commons

Facing shouts of “resign”, Johnson argued he feels an “even greater sense of obligation” to fulfil his duties as Prime Minister and to respond to the invasion of Ukraine.

It is understood the motion to be debated in Parliament on Thursday will call for the Privileges Committee to establish whether the Tory leader's conduct amounted to contempt of the Commons – though the BBC reports the "substantive work" will not be completed until the Metropolitan Police investigation has finished.

The motion brought forward by opposition MPs will also raise at least four examples where Johnson is alleged to have misled Parliament. 

Green MSP Maggie Chapman told GMS: “The idea that was a genuine and sincere apology is just a joke. His apologies are about keeping his job. They don’t actually cut to the heart of the issue – which is not only did he mislead Parliament, but he has also fundamentally undermined any hope, any faith, any trust that people had left in our democratic processes.”

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton told GMS that Johnson had presided over a “culture of repeated rule breaking” at a time when others were expected to follow strict lockdown rules.

He said: “Douglas Ross has a lot to answer for here. He wants the country to believe he is the person to stand up to the SNP and to Nicola Sturgeon but he can’t even stand up to his own boss in London.”

Adam Tomkins, who was on the Scottish Conservative frontbenches at Holyrood before quitting as an MSP last May, said he expected voters to deliver a “withering” verdict on the Tories.

He branded Johnson a “fool and a clown” as he insisted the Prime Minister “must be shown the door”.

He also warned Tories in Scotland that having taken the “high road of principle earlier in the year”, the party’s stance on the matter now looked “not only empty but risible”.

In an article in The Herald ahead of May’s local government elections, the former MSP wrote: “I expect that the popular verdict on this pantomime of a performance will be every bit as withering as it deserves to be.

“There are some good, talented and principled men and women in the Scottish Conservative party but, yet again, the vehicle in which they insist on remaining is leading them badly astray.”

He said Scottish Labour could overtake the Tories to become “Scotland’s second party and the principal opposition force to the SNP”.

Tomkins, a law professor at Glasgow University, added: “I fully understand that loyalty is the currency of politics. But there are higher values than loyalty. Fidelity to legal principle is one of them.

“A rule-breaking government cannot be supported. And a rule-breaking prime minister is no ruler.”