Boris Johnson will be invited to address Scottish Tory conference

The Scottish Conservatives are holding their conference in Aberdeen on March 18 and 19.

12 February 2022

Boris Johnson will be invited to address the Scottish Conservative conference in March, the party has said.

It comes after the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross last month called on the Prime Minister to resign over the so-called partygate investigation into potential lockdown breaches in Downing Street.

The Scottish Conservatives are holding their conference in Aberdeen on March 18 and 19, at the same time as the UK spring conference in Blackpool, meaning Mr Johnson may address the Scottish gathering virtually.

A Scottish Conservatives spokesman said: “The Prime Minister will be invited to address party conference, just as has been the case in any other year.”

First Ministers Questions
Douglas Ross called on the Prime Minister to step down (Andy Buchanan/PA)

Mr Ross was among the Tory MPs who wrote to the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady seeking to trigger a no confidence vote.

The move prompted Jacob Rees-Mogg, then the leader of the House, to called the head of the Scottish Conservatives a “lightweight”

However, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said Mr Ross had his “full backing”.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Mr Jack said: “Douglas Ross absolutely is the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, he is put there by the membership because we’re a constitutionally devolved organisation, he’s doing a very good job, he holds Nicola Sturgeon to account and he has my full backing.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart described the announcement as a “humiliating climbdown for Douglas Ross” which “demonstrates that the Scottish Tory party is nothing more than a branch office under the control of Tory HQ in Westminster”.

“Such an embarrassing U-turn leaves Mr Ross with egg all over his face – and will do little to counter claims by senior Tories that he is a ‘lightweight’ whose authority is crumbling,” said Mr Wishart.

“It simply isn’t credible for the Scottish Tories to demand Boris Johnson’s resignation one week, then invite him to give a keynote speech the next.

“This will only add to speculation that the Scottish Tory Leader is on his way out the door. They can’t both credibly remain in post.”

On Friday, Downing Street confirmed that Mr Johnson had received a legal questionnaire from Met officers investigating events in No 10.

He now has seven days to adequately explain his attendance or face a fine for breaking his own Covid regulations.

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