DOUGLAS Ross has rejected a push for the faster removal of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister after saying he would not change the current rules around confidence votes.

Johnson won the support of 211 of his parliamentary colleagues earlier this month when a confidence vote was called by the 1922 Committee and is now technically safe for a year.

But given that 148 MPs - more than 40% of the Tory party at Westminster - opted not to back him, many have suggested the rules should be changed to force him out of office.

This argument has been further strengthened following major losses in two by-elections for the Tories in Wakefield, and Tiverton and Honiton in Devon.

Meanwhile, Labour claim that at least six Tory MPs are considering defecting to Labour, according to The Sunday Times. The paper also reports that rebel MPs say they "can't wait until July 2023" to oust Johnson in a second confidence ballot, while mutinous cabinet ministers are also considering whether to move against him.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the treasurer of the 1922 Committee, said his party had “some difficult decisions to make, no doubt” about how to move forward.

And Tory MP Andrew Brigden said he will be standing for the executive role of the 1922 Committee - for which nominations open this week - on a manifesto of changing the rules so the Prime Minister has to face the music for a second time within a year.

But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross - who voted against the Prime Minister in the confidence vote - told the BBC Sunday Show this was not the right way forward. 

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When asked whether the rules should be changed, he said: "I’m not on the executive [of the 1922 Committee] and it’s for the executive to look at rule changes and clearly there is an election I think next week or the week after and for some candidates their pitch is they would change the rules.

"I personally don’t think we should change the rules mid-way through a process, I think that’s the wrong way to do it.

"But as we saw with Theresa May, she [won] a vote of the 1922 committee and it didn’t take a rule change. She looked at the situation a few months on and she stood down herself."

In a teary statement in June 2019, May stepped down as PM even after she survived a confidence vote. 

She secured 63% of the total vote - more than Johnson -  but still decided months later she should not continue as leader of the party. 

Ross said the vote did not mean the issue was "done and dusted" for Johnson, hinting at the possibility of the PM resigning. 

Ross added: "We knew that Theresa May had more support from her parliamentary colleagues when she faced a confidence vote and she resigned a few months later so it’s not just a situation where that vote is done and dusted and everyone moves on.

"These two by-elections in particular have shown the public have not moved on and we’ve now seen the resignation of the party chair who did sit in cabinet, so the PM must reflect on this."

Oliver Dowden resigned as party chair on Friday following the by-election losses, as the Conservatives lost Tiverton and Honiton to the LibDems and Wakefield to Labour.

The former saw the Tories lose a majority of more than 24,000.

Ross did suggest Tory MPs may be plotting to remove Johnson while he is away on international business this week.

When asked if the Cabinet should be organising something for Johnson's return, Ross said: "Clearly there will be discussions amongst colleagues. Oliver Dowden is a very well-respected colleague, he was a very good party chairman, and secretary of state before that and he will have spoken to members since his resignation I’m sure.

"Those closest to the Prime Minister will have to look at what is the best situation for the country and we cannot continue to go on losing election after election."