Douglas Ross urged to act against PM amid latest lockdown party claims

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is being urged to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister as Boris Johnson faced more allegations over lockdown parties.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said his Tory counterpart must now act “because the Prime Minister needs to be removed”.

His comments came as former Scottish Tory leader, Baroness Davidson, said “what tf (the f***) were any of these people thinking” regarding those who attended party in the garden behind No 10 during the initial coronavirus lockdown.

Scottish Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, meanwhile, accused the PM of “mocking” those who lost loved ones to the virus, as he called for Mr Johnson to resign, saying he has “no moral authority to lead”.

Police are in now contact with the Cabinet Office over claims a senior aide to the Prime Minister organised a “bring your own booze” party in May 2020.

Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, sent an email to more than 100 Downing Street employees inviting them to “make the most of the lovely weather” in the garden.

At the time, strict coronavirus restrictions banning groups from meeting socially outdoors were in place.

The leaked email, obtained by ITV news, said: “Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening.

“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf called on Mr Johnson to ‘do the honourable thing’ and resign (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“(The) PM has spent a lifetime trying to evade the truth, but he has run out of track. He has no moral authority to lead and, for once, should do the honourable thing and resign.”

His comments came as Mr Cole-Hamilton put pressure on the Scottish Tory leader to act against the PM.

Mr Ross previously quit his role in the UK Government over the behaviour of the Prime Minister’s then aide, Dominic Cummings, during lockdown.

And Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “While my constituents said goodbye to their loved ones via Zoom, Boris Johnson’s private secretary was telling staff to bring their own booze for a garden party knees-up.

Coronavirus – Thu Jan 6, 2022
Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure over parties held in the garden of Downing Street during lockdown (Peter Cziborra/Reuters/Pool)

“Douglas Ross previously said that this was a red line. Now that it is clear that the Prime Minister has repeatedly lied to the public, surely, Douglas must submit his letter of no confidence because this Prime Minister needs to be removed.”

Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, also demanded action from Mr Ross, recalling that the Tory MSP had previously expressed “anger and disappointment at reports of parties taking place during lockdown”, and had said then “that Boris Johnson could not continue in his post if he misled the Parliament on this matter”.

Mr Sarwar told his Conservative counterpart that the latest allegations “put it beyond any doubt that the Prime Minister was aware of, and complicit in, blatant breaches of Covid laws, and misled Parliament on the matter”.

He told Mr Ross: “I therefore, hope that you will stand by your previous comments, and call for Boris Johnson to resign now – with no ifs or buts.

“These repeated, flagrant breaches have badly undermined public trust at a time when it has never been more critical.

“It threatens the Government’s ability to respond to the pandemic we are still battling and insults the public and the sacrifices they have made.”

Baroness Davidson was also critical of the PM, saying that the public were rightly furious after more evidence of alleged rule-breaking by Downing Street.

Mr Johnson has refused to answer questions about the latest allegation of Downing Street rule-breaking, instead claiming the public should wait for the conclusions of an investigation by senior civil servant, Sue Gray.

But Baroness Davidson tweeted: “This line won’t survive 48 hrs.

“Nobody needs an official to tell them if they were at a boozy shindig in their own garden. People are (rightly) furious. They sacrificed so much – visiting sick or grieving relatives, funerals.

“What tf (the f***) were any of these people thinking?”

Scotland’s Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said he was “furious” with the Prime Minister over what he described a s “blatant, flagrant disregard for the rules”.

Mr Yousaf said: “We have a prime minister that is being a hypocrite, a prime minister that has spent most of his life trying to evade the truth and he should really now confront the truth.

“That truth, undoubtedly, is that there was not just rule-breaking and parties going on at Number 10, but clearly there’s a blatant flagrant disregard for the rules.

“There’s one rule for the Prime Minister and his Conservative friends. There’s clearly one rule for everybody else.”

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