Steerpike

Split loyalties for Scottish Tories

Split loyalties for Scottish Tories
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You have to feel for the Scottish Conservatives. The current No. 10 dramas have placed them all in an invidious position, following Douglas Ross's call yesterday for Boris Johnson to resign over partygate. Ross of course is the Scottish Conservative leader, with seats in the parliaments of both Westminster and Scotland. This means that every Tory north of the border now faces a difficult question: which leader do you agree with?

Nearly all of Ross's colleagues at Holyrood agree that Johnson needs to go, with 27 of the 31 (including Ross himself) demanding the PM resign. The four exceptions are Pam Gosal, Dean Lockhart, Oliver Mundell and Graham Simpson, who have thus far refused to offer any defence of the embattled premier. When contacted by Mr S, none of the aforementioned quartet was willing to say if they agreed with either leader.

Ross is also one of six Scottish Tory MPs in Westminster, a group which he technically leads. Mr S therefore asked Ross's five fellow Conservatives whether they agreed with his decision to call for Johnson to quit. Steerpike contacted Andrew Bowie, David Mundell, John Lamont, David Duguid and Scotland Secretary Alister Jack to ask whether they would support Ross in his demands for a leadership election. Again, not a single one was willing to back Ross – or Johnson – or offer any comment in either man's defence, with the sole exception of Jack who claimed he had 'faith' in the PM. 

At least Mundell senior had the defence of being out on pre-planned constituency business and was thus 'unavailable' – even if he's had time to 'like' a tweet of Douglas Ross appearing at FMQs in Holyrood. Given their split loyalties, eventually the Scottish Tories will have to choose: do they stand with Boris or Douglas?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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Topics in this articlePoliticsdouglas rossboris johnson