RISHI Sunak angered every journalist at the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday after his officials offered them an ultimatum: ask the Prime Minister a single question about Richard Sharp’s resignation as BBC chair, or ask him nothing at all.

Some 30 journalists in the room put the offer to a ballot, and not one voted to accept it.

Even Scottish Tory leader – Douglas Ross – said the move was "wrong" and that journalists were "rightly upset".

Contradicting Prime Minister Sunak, Ross said: "It was unnecessary, it shouldn't have happened.

"I always speak to the press, I speak to all of you, We'll have as many questions as you need to take.

"You were rightly upset about it and I'll be making the strongest possible representations to number 10 about it."

The pressure put on the Prime Minister after that vote eventually led to begrudging concessions from Number 10 – who finally gave the gathered Scottish journalists from print media around six minutes of Sunak’s time, and asked everyone to "delete your tweets" about the whole thing...

So what happened at the Tory conference when Rishi Sunak tried to dodge the media?

The whole stooshie kicked off slightly ahead of Sunak’s brief speech to the Scottish Tory conference, which is being held at Glasgow’s SEC.

Word was sent around the media that a select few, hand-picked outlets would be allowed to speak to the Prime Minister. Other than news agency PA, these were almost exclusively papers which lean right, such as the Express and the Telegraph. Papers including the Scotsman, Herald, Independent, and The National were excluded.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak dubs Scottish Parliament a 'devolved assembly'

Even the location of the meeting was kept under wraps as No 10 attempted to keep the vast majority of the journalists at the conference from seeing the Prime Minister. But they underestimated the hard-headedness of the Scottish press.

When the selected outlets were collected from the media room to be taken to meet Sunak, everyone else went along as well.

The clash in the hallways saw staff try and fail to hold back the media, before one Number 10 official relented. “OK, you know what, let them all in,” they said.

The room quickly filled up with media, but Sunak failed to appear. He’d been due at 10.40am, but by 11.00am there was still no sign of him.

Time wore on as Number 10 staff tried to barter with the media, cutting the number of questions, trying to lay down strict agendas which would be followed, and attempting to evict broadcast cameras from the room.

Eventually, Tory press officers said that Sunak would be doing one question to one broadcast camera on the topic of former BBC chair Richard Sharp. Everyone would have to share that and be happy.

That did not go down well, and after the aforementioned vote it was agreed that Sunak’s attempts to evade the press were clearly the top story.

The pressure must have got to Number 10, as they relented and came back with a new offer: three questions from broadcast media, and six questions from print. Of course, those six questions would come from the same hand-picked outlets who they had originally selected – but the rest of the media would at least get to listen in.

So a deal was made, and before long Scottish Secretary Alister Jack entered the room.

Jack quipped that Sunak was going to be some 45 minutes late because he had been speaking to party members, and “there are a lot of members”. Asked how many members the Scottish Tories have exactly, Jack claimed ignorance. 

Finally, Sunak did arrive. The Prime Minister then gave six bland answers to the questions he was asked, including denying that he had ever tried to dodge the media.

Asked why he had tried to “only speak to a number of hand-picked journalists”, Sunak said: “That is absolutely not my understanding of what’s happened.”

He said he had spoken to the BBC on Friday, before adding: “And I’m speaking to half a dozen of you here which was always the plan.”

Pressed, he went on: “That’s just completely wrong. I was always due to speak to I think about half a dozen or so, including PA as well.”

Telling a room full of journalists that everything they’d witnessed over the last 60 minutes had not happened was an interesting tactic. Saturday's papers will tell how well it worked.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association said: “Journalists expect to be able to hold the Prime Minister to account when he is in Scotland as a vital part of the democratic process.

“Today’s actions to restrict access are unprecedented and undermine that important principle.”