Calling for PM to quit would have been ‘easiest’ course of action, says Ross

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said removing the Prime Minister could destabilise the UK Government.

14 April 2022

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said the “easiest” course of action for him would have been to repeat calls for the Prime Minister to quit after his recent fine.

Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were among those who received fixed penalty notices issued in relation to a gathering in Downing Street at the height of the pandemic.

Mr Ross was among the leading voices in his party calling on the Prime Minister to stand down earlier this year, but this week he said such a change would destabilise the UK Government and provide a boost to Vladimir Putin.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak clinking pints of beer behind a bar
The Prime Minister and Chancellor were issued with fines this week (Dan Kitwood/PA)

Defence Select Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said Tories should not use the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “fig leaf to dodge tough questions” on Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Speaking from his party’s local election manifesto launch, the Scottish Tory leader told the PA news agency he “respects” Mr Ellwood, but added: “In terms of using (the invasion) to dodge, the easiest thing for me would have been to call for the Prime Minister to go.

“That would have saved me from getting lots of questions repeatedly from the media, which I’m happy to take, but that would have been the easy decision.

“I’m looking at the situation in Ukraine… as being an issue that is of the utmost importance and we’ve seen that the support from the UK Government has been absolutely essential for President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine to defend themselves,

“Therefore I want to do everything possible to maintain that support and do nothing that will help Vladimir Putin.

“A vacuum at the top of the UK Government at this time would only benefit Vladimir Putin.”

When asked if two of the country’s most powerful men being found to have breached laws they themselves had set would provide a boost to Russia, Mr Ross said: “Their actions are absolutely unacceptable and I am as angry as anyone else is about this.”

He added: “The situation in Ukraine and the last few weeks of this war has made a difference for me, but I respect people that take a different view.”

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