Angus Robertson: With or without Boris, its ‘heads we lose, tails we lose’ with the Tories

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, u-turned on his call for Boris Johnson to goDouglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, u-turned on his call for Boris Johnson to go
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, u-turned on his call for Boris Johnson to go
‘Having or showing no skill; clumsy’. That is the definition of the word ‘inept’ in the Oxford English Dictionary. It goes on to provide the demonstrative phrase ‘the referee’s inept handling of the match’.

One might think that the lexicographer writing this entry was thinking of Douglas Ross, who, as well as his jobs as Member of the Scottish Parliament, Member of the Westminster Parliament and Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, is a football referee, and someone who has shown himself to be particularly inept at, among other things, dealing with Boris Johnson’s law-breaking.

Way back when many of the Partygate revelations came to light, Douglas Ross initially took the principled line and called for Johnson to resign, submitting his letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee (the body that runs the party in Westminster).

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When the Prime Minister managed to escape a no-confidence vote then, Ross chickened out and went back on his principles. Seeking the earliest political cover to retract his letter of no confidence - in this case, the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

When even more news of parties came out, he wheeled back around and said that Johnson should go if the new Commons committee inquiry finds he has deliberately misled parliament.

When this didn’t wash, he suggested the Prime Minister should step down when the ‘war in Ukraine was over’. Unsurprisingly, the public and fellow politicians immediately saw through this lacklustre and ambiguous attempt to seem firm in his principles.

We have all seen the stats and polling that has come out recently - an overwhelming majority of people in the UK of all political persuasions think Johnson has lied, and an overwhelming majority think he should resign.

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There is absolutely no ethically or logically sound reason a Tory MP could support the Prime Minister. If the moral repugnance of supporting a Prime Minister who breaks the laws he makes for other people wasn’t enough, mounting evidence shows an election fought under the leadership of Boris Johnson would be lost heavily.

The Prime Minister’s position is best summed up by former staunch Johnson ally, Jesse Norman MP, who submitted his scathing letter of no confidence.

‘You have presided over a culture of casual law-breaking at 10 Downing Street in relation to COVID. To describe yourself as ‘vindicated’ by the report is grotesque.’

‘Under you, the Government seems to lack a sense of mission. It has a large majority, but no long-term plan. Rather, you are simply seeking to campaign, to keep changing the subject and to create political and cultural dividing lines mainly for your advantage. Sensible planning has been replaced by empty rhetoric.

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Neither the Conservative Party nor this country can afford to squander the next two years adrift and distracted by endless debate about you and your leadership.’

We cannot forget that Scotland’s governmental future is being decided by Tory MPs alone. This is a disgrace, particularly given Scotland has a paltry 6 Tory MPs led by the inept Douglas Ross.

It is probably too much to hope that Mr Ross and the rest of Scotland’s few Tory MPs can improve their record and conduct themselves with the same decisiveness and principled nature as Mr Norman.

In Scotland’s case, with or without Boris Johnson, its ‘heads we lose, tails we lose’ with the Tories.

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