Scottish Tory leader tells Boris Johnson to ‘settle this right now’ after prime minister dodges questions about party involvement

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Fraser Bremner – WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has urged Boris Johnson to say if he attended a lockdown-breaching garden party in Downing Street.
  • Douglas Ross told Sky News if Johnson had lied to Parliament he should resign.
  • Ross resigned from the government in May 2020, days after the alleged party, over Dominic Cummings’s lockdown-breaching trip to Durham.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has broken ranks and told Boris Johnson to admit if he attended a lockdown-breaking “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020.

Douglas Ross, an MP and a member of the Scottish Parliament, told Sky News that Johnson should “come forward and say if he was at the party or not.”

The UK government has so far refused to comment on the alleged party after ITV News acquired a leaked email showing one of Johnson’s most senior aides inviting more than 100 colleagues to a “bring your own booze” event. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson refused to comment 25 times when asked questions by journalists earlier on Tuesday. A junior minister told broadcasters on Tuesday morning that it would “be making a leap” to assume Johnson was aware of a lockdown-breaching party he is reported to have attended.

Johnson on Monday said he could not comment on the story while an investigation into multiple alleged parties is underway, carried out by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

But Ross urged his leader to “settle this right now”.

“That’s a crucial question that won’t in any way undermine Sue Gray’s investigation. It will let the public know, right now, if he was there or not.”

There was no need to wait for Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Ross said.

“If he has breached his own guidance, if he has not been truthful, that is an extremely important issue. I’ve said previously if the Prime Minister has misled Parliament, then he must resign,” he added.

A snap poll for Savanta ComRes found that two-thirds of Britons — 66 per cent — believe the prime minister should resign over the BYOB party claims. 

Johnson ducked an opportunity to explain the reports after an urgent question on the party was debated in Parliament earlier on Tuesday, with a junior minister sent in to respond to questions from MPs on both sides.

“If there’s nothing to hide, if there’s no issue, then just answer the question. And if there is, then that is an acceptance that he himself breached the guidance his government was putting in place,” Ross told Sky News.

Ross resigned from the government on 26 May 2020, six days after the alleged party, in protest at the government’s response to criticism of Boris Johnson’s then chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, breaching lockdown rules by travelling across the country.

Conservative MPs told Insider the latest scandal was “beyond a shitshow”, describing the situation as “very, very bad”.