Steerpike

When will Boris next visit Scotland?

When will Boris next visit Scotland?
Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images
Text settings
Comments

Poor Douglas Ross had a difficult outing on Radio 4's Today show this morning, being asked repeatedly as to whether the prime minister will visit Scotland prior to Holyrood polling on May 6 next month. A squirming Ross argued:

I’m not sure if he’s going to come up in Scotland in this campaign. He had hoped to come up, and I thought he may come up, but given the pandemic and the restrictions to campaigning I’m not sure that’s likely now.

Asked about Johnson previously visiting Scotland when Covid restrictions had been in force the Scottish Tory leader replied:

Well, he’s also leading the UK effort for against a global pandemic and I think people understand in this more strange election campaign, in terms of the restrictions that we’ve all got to deal with, that it may not be as easy for the prime minister to come up.

Ironically Ross failed to reference his 'perfect get out of jail free' card – namely that Boris Johnson was due to visit India next week on his long-awaited Global Britain bonanza. But now Johnson's trip has been cancelled in light of the worsening Covid situation on the subcontinent. So will a trip north of the border now be on the cards?

Don't count on it, judging by the lukewarm reaction Tories there have expressed thus far. Whereas Rishi Sunak was treated to a hero's welcome back in August, Johnson is still regarded warily by the Scottish Conservative party, all too wary that he is still -28 in the favourability rankings making him the second least popular leader behind the egomaniacal Alba autarch Alex Salmond.

It was less than three years ago of course that Johnson's Scottish colleagues ran a not particularly subtle or effective campaign to stop him becoming leader, dubbed 'Operation Arse.' A bum's rush shortly followed in December 2019 for more than half the Scottish Tories who lost seven of their thirteen seats. 

Clearly Douglas Ross and others are worried about being the butt of jokes again if Johnson comes north once more.