THE post-council elections Tory civil war is well under way as a Conservative MSP insists that Boris Johnson must resign over the partygate scandal – undermining Douglas Ross in the process.
Ross initially called for Johnson to resign over the Downing Street parties but subsequently U-turned on his position days before the Scottish Tory conference, citing the war in Ukraine as a gamechanger for the Prime Minister.
He made the move after it became clear that Tory MPs at Westminster would not be able to oust Johnson.
The Scottish Tory leader’s dramatic backpedal is thought to be one of the key reasons his party fell behind Labour in the local council elections last week – with voters taking the opportunity to voice their displeasure at the ballot box.
He has pinned blame for his party’s dismal performance on partygate, but refused to say whether Johnson should lead the Tories into the next election.
Informal talks have reportedly already taken place among Conservative MSPs about replacing Ross.
Things have now gone from bad to worse for the Scottish Tory leader amid his inaction as one of his own MSPs cut against the grain by insisting Johnson must resign.
Tory MSP Maurice Golden has insisted he has been steadfast on his position that the Prime Minister must resign, saying he has “never flip-flopped”.
When asked on the BBC’s Politics Scotland show if his branch office boss’s job was safe after the party’s dismal showing in the local elections, Golden said: “Yes, of course.”
He added: “It was our second-best result in a generation. But that doesn’t mean I’m not bitterly disappointed.
“Cleary the voters were not focusing on local issues and ultimately it was partygate that people voted with, and that’s why the SNP had Boris on their bus, for example.”
Golden was pressed on the issue of whether the Scottish Tories should “flip flop again and actually decided Boris should go”.
He answered: “I’ve never flip-flopped – that’s not in my nature.
“I called on the Prime Minister to resign and that remains my position.”
Speaking to The Herald last week, Scottish Conservative local government spokesperson Miles Briggs said “the anger towards the Prime Minister and his team” had been a key reason for the Tories’ poor electoral performance.
SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “This admission from Maurice Golden just shows that the Tories are too distracted by fighting with themselves over partygate instead of tackling the cost of living crisis.
“Douglas Ross has flip-flopped throughout this saga and has lost all credibility within his party and with the people of Scotland. That is why the Tories suffered significant losses across the country in the local elections last week.
“Boris Johnson has broken the law and lied to the public, he must resign.”