Boris Johnson party scandal: Douglas Ross says PM is a "truthful man" but says explanation for rule-breaking needed
The Scottish Conservative leader has said the Prime Minister needs to explain why he did not realise he broke lockdown rules yet believes Johnson is a “truthful man”.
The Prime Minister has been fined for attending his birthday party during lockdown in 2020 in breach of the Covid regulations he set out for the rest of the country.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was also fined. Both men have apologised yet say they will remain in their positions.
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Labour, the SNP, Greens and the Liberal Democrats have all called for the Prime Minister to step down.
Yet, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said he was backing the PM due to his handling of the war in Ukraine. Before Johnson was fined, Mr Ross retracted his letter to the 1922 committee calling for him to resign.
On BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday, when he was asked if he believed the Prime Minister was a truthful man, Mr Ross answered: “Yes, and he’s dealing with the situation in Ukraine and he’s dealing with the situation at home here.”
When asked if the Prime Minister’s protestations over Downing Street parties in recent months were true, Mr Ross added: “Clearly not, because the Met Police have decided that fixed penalty notices had to be issued.
“The Prime Minister has to explain why he said that and what he believed to be the case.
“Clearly he thought something different, but the Met Police have been very clear, they’ve issued these fixed penalty notices, they have been accepted by the Prime Minister, they have been paid by the Prime Minister, and I think that process is right.
“That the police were allowed time to investigate this, to come to a conclusion, and no-one is above the law and that has been proven by the issuing of these fines to the Prime Minister and others in Downing Street.
“The Prime Minister has to explain why he said that to Keir Starmer and statements he’s made at the despatch box in the House of Commons, because it’s quite clear now – with the Met Police investigation, the issuing of the fine and the acceptance of that fine by the Prime Minister – that that statement is not correct.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the fines speak to a culture of “entitlement” in Downing Street, adding: “If he had any self respect he would be coming to the House of Commons tomorrow with a resignation statement.”
“Not only did (the Prime Minister) break the law, but he has repeatedly lied to the public, he has repeatedly lied to the House of Commons, and that in itself is a resignation matter,” he said.
“He’s trying to argue that he didn’t know his own rules, he didn’t know his own laws, I don’t think anyone finds that acceptable.
"The public are angry because so many people made enormous sacrifices not being with their loved ones, not being able to visit their loved ones in care homes, not being able to have family members at funerals.
“And you’ve got a Prime Minister who was effectively laughing at them.”