Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has demanded Boris Johnson’s resignation over the Downing Street drinks party scandal.
Ross said the prime minister’s position was “no longer tenable”, and revealed he had spoken to Johnson on Wednesday to “set out my reasons”, adding that he “explained to him my position”.
The Scottish Tory leader would not reveal how Johnson responded.
‘The time has come’
It comes after another top Tory MP, Sir Roger Gale, said that the prime minister was a “dead man walking” and “on very thin ice indeed”.
Sir Roger told the PA news agency: “The prime minister has said what he has said at the despatch box: he spent 25 minutes at what he described as a work event.
“Well, I’m sorry, you don’t have ‘bring a bottle’ work events in Downing Street, so far as I’m aware.
“And you don’t have ‘bring a bottle’ work events that are advertised or invited by the prime minister’s private secretary.”
Sir Roger, a prominent critic of Johnson, added: “I think the time has come for either the prime minister to go with dignity as his choice, or for the 1922 Committee to intervene.”
And minister Rachel Maclean warned that there would be consequences for those who have broken the law over Covid restrictions.
Speaking to BBC’s Politics Live, she said: ‘The law of the land applies to everybody…including the prime minister.
“The people that make the laws are also the subject of the laws and that’s why we’ve got this due process of this inquiry find out exactly what went on, and if any laws were broken there will be consequences.”
‘The party’s over’
Johnson apologised for attending the “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during England’s first lockdown – although he insisted he believed it had been a “work event”.
He acknowledged the public “rage” over the incident as he battled to save his premiership, with Downing Street insisting he was never sent an email inviting people to “socially distanced drinks” in the garden.
Johnson told MPs that he attended the May 20 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” but “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also called on Johnson to resign.
“After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road,” Sir Keir said.
“His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.”
He added: “The party’s over, prime minister.
“The only question is will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out, or will he do the decent thing and resign?”
Related: Tory minister insists calls for Johnson to resign are ‘opposition campaign’