DOUGLAS Ross has been accused of “deflecting” from the “serious scandal” of Boris Johnson misleading parliament, the First Minister has said, after the leaders clashed over dualling the A9.

Earlier on Thursday, the House of Commons Privileges Committee released their report which found Johnson had “deliberately” misled Parliament, and on more than one occasion, regarding whether Covid-19 rules were adhered to in Number 10 during nationwide lockdowns.

During FMQs in Holyrood, Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Tory leader clashed on the deadline for dualling the A9, after a number of accidents have sadly taken lives on the dangerous road on the east coast.

Ross claimed that it was “unprecedented” that a Government Initiated Question (GIQ) lodged on Monday relating to the A9 was later rescinded.

The First Minister insisted that this was due to the appointment of Fiona Hyslop as Transport Minister on Tuesday – a brief which was also given to Cabinet Secretary Mairi McAllan – and that he had asked the department to review the timetable for dualling the road.

Ross repeatedly pushed on the GIQ, claiming that Yousaf was “getting annoyed” at his repeated questions.

The First Minister could be overheard saying “no I’m not,” and shaking his head at the Scottish Tory leader.

READ MORE: Clip of Douglas Ross calling Boris Johnson a 'truthful man' resurfaces

“This is desperate stuff from Douglas Ross who is trying to dodge, no doubt, deflect, of course from the serious scandal of Boris Johnson engulfing his party,” the First Minister told the chamber.

“With Boris Johnson, not just lying to the House of Commons, of course, but the people of this country and the UK, when they of course, could not attend the funeral of a loved one.”

As jeers from the Tory benches grew louder, Yousaf said they “should not be shouting this down”.

“Nobody in this country will forget that Douglas Ross backed Boris Johnson to the hilt,” he blasted.

Ross was criticised for his shifting position on the former prime minister. He was one of the first senior members of the party to call for him to quit in the wake of the partygate scandal breaking, before rescinding those calls after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, citing the need for a unified response to the crisis.

He eventually voted against Johnson in a confidence ballot last June, which precipitated the then prime minister leaving office the following month.

GIQs are generally used to allow ministers to make announcements on specific subjects. Monday's GIQ was lodged by SNP MSP Jim Fairlie, but the question was later withdrawn.

Ross claimed that this meant an announcement had been cancelled, but the First Minister insisted that the decision was made due to allow further input from Hyslop as she takes on the Transport Minister role. 

READ MORE: Douglas Ross declines to say if Boris Johnson is still an 'honest man'

Yousaf said: “If [Douglas Ross] was here in this chamber, he would have seen that of course we have a new transport team in place.

“It is only right, of course, that I have asked that transport team to look at the detail of the dualling of the A9.”

It is not clear what the Scottish Government planned to announce, if anything, in relation to the road when the GIQ was first tabled. An announcement is now expected in the autumn.

Meanwhile, the First Minister reiterated his promise to complete the long-awaited dualling project, which brought campaigner Laura Hansler to the Scottish Parliament this week to testify.

Yousaf said: “We are, I am, this Government is absolutely committed to dualling the A9.”

It came as Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar raised the case of Martin Graham, a 76-year-old man who lives on the Isle of Lewis. Graham was told he faces "delay and disruption" to his cancer treatment due to a lack of oncologists. 

Graham's cancer returned despite having a tumour removed, and he has been "anxiously" waiting to hear when his treatment would start. However, he instead received a letter setting out that there would be delays to his treatment until a replacement oncologist can be found. 

Sarwar asked: “After 16 years of SNP Government, why is there no oncologist anywhere in Scotland to treat Mr Graham?”

The First Minister said he would be happy to look into the detail of the case Sarwar raised.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf rejects claims of police and media collusion in SNP probe

There is a global shortage of oncologists, he said, and work to increase the numbers in Scotland has been ongoing since 2007.

Yousaf said the NHS is still working through a significant backlog, and performance against the 31-day target for decision to treat cancer is closer to the desired level.

He said: “I want him [Sarwar] to be assured that there has been action and there will continue to be action to increase the number of consultant radiologists and consultant oncologists working in Scotland.”

The First Minister also noted that “more and more people” are now coming through cancer pathways.