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Boris Johnson cannot continue as PM if he misled Parliament about party – Ross

·4-min read
Douglas Ross said it is ‘undeniable’ that some kind of party took place at Downing Street (Trevor Martin/PA) (PA Archive)
Douglas Ross said it is ‘undeniable’ that some kind of party took place at Downing Street (Trevor Martin/PA) (PA Archive)

Boris Johnson should not continue as Prime Minister if he is found to have misled Parliament over an alleged party in Downing Street last year, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Ross said it is “undeniable” that “some sort of party” had taken place last December, after a video appearing to show Downing Street aides joking about it was released by ITV News.

The Prime Minister has been under pressure over the issue in the past week, but he said in the Commons on Wednesday that he has been assured no party took place – although he has ordered the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the matter.

The Prime Minister ordered an investigation by the Cabinet Secretary (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/PA) (PA Media)
The Prime Minister ordered an investigation by the Cabinet Secretary (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/PA) (PA Media)

Mr Ross said of Mr Johnson: “If he knew there was a party, if he knew it took place, then he cannot come to the House of Commons and say there was no party.

“That would be a very serious allegation if that were to be the outcome of the inquiry, and we’d have to see the outcome of the inquiry before we speculate on that.

“But anyone who says there wasn’t a party, but knew about it and said in Parliament there was no party has misled Parliament.

What angers me more is the families that had to sacrifice so much at the same time 12 months ago people thought it was okay to have a jolly in Downing Street

Douglas Ross

“That is a serious charge and you cannot continue in the highest office in the land if you’ve done that.

“If the inquiry said that this time last year he was aware of a party being organised and he knew about a party, that’s a totally different picture and we cannot have the Prime Minister or any member of any Parliament coming to the chamber saying one thing when they know the exact opposite.”

Mr Ross said there are “serious questions” which need to be answered in the wake of the allegations.

“I’ve looked at that video and looked at everything else that we’ve seen over the last week, and said there was a party of some kind,” he said.

“That is undeniable, I think, and that’s why I am saying it’s right we ask these serious questions – we get the answers quickly.”

When he first saw a video of Downing Street staff appearing to joke about the party, Mr Ross said: “I just thought it confirmed everything that people had been suggesting that we had been told hadn’t happened.

“It’s clear from that video that there was a party of some kind, now I don’t know exactly what it was, I don’t know who was there, I don’t know how it was organised or how it played out, but from that video it’s pretty clear there was a party and, therefore, serious questions have to be answered.

“The guidance was crystal clear, there was no ambiguity – it said no Christmas lunches, no Christmas parties – that’s what people in Downing Street were telling the public to follow, yet it seems people within that building weren’t doing that themselves.”

Mr Ross said he will not resign as leader of the Scottish party as a result of the allegations, stressing it is “Conservative members here in Scotland who decide who leads the party here in Scotland”.

Despite saying earlier on Wednesday that he has confidence in the Prime Minister and still trusts him, the Scottish Tory leader acknowledged the episode has weakened the Conservative Party.

“I think undoubtedly we have been damaged by this issue,” he said.

“Which is why I can understand why this issue is still top of the agenda, why it has been raised now two weeks running at Prime Minister’s Questions.

“But more important for me than that – it’s not the political ramifications, I’ll deal with that or do whatever I have to do as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

“What angers me more is the families that had to sacrifice so much at the same time 12 months ago people thought it was okay to have a jolly in Downing Street.”

Mr Ross was just one of the senior Tories to criticise Mr Johnson’s handling of the issue, with former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson describing it as “pathetic”.

Read More

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