Moray politicians share their reactions to the publication of the Sue Gray report, as Douglas Ross decides not to oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson
MORAY politicians have made furious calls for Boris Johnson to step down after the publication of the Sue Gray report, as Douglas Ross blames the war in Ukraine for his failure to join efforts to oust the prime minister.
Green and SNP politicians have shared their fury at new details in the long-awaited report, released on Wednesday May 25, including photographic evidence of the Prime Minister drinking at unlawful gatherings and evidence from senior officials claiming that they “got away with” the parties.
Despite the new evidence, however, Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross refused to resubmit a letter of censure to his leader – the likeliest route for the Prime Minister to leave office.
According to Mr Ross, despite the “unacceptable” behavior of the Prime Minister and other senior officials, a leadership race was a bad idea as it could benefit Vladimir Putin.
Mr Ross said: ‘The behavior described in Sue Gray’s report was completely unacceptable.
“It was totally wrong and at odds with what the rest of the country was doing.
“People are angry and they are right to be angry.
“Most of us fully followed the rules as asked of us, but this report confirms that those who made the rules did not.
“I first said that the Prime Minister should resign and I changed my position only because of what was happening in Ukraine. A war that no one expected and a war that continues.
“While President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine continue to call for support from the UK and other allies, I believe it would be wrong to impeach the Prime Minister and enter a multi-party leadership race. months that would destabilize the situation and the only person who would benefit would be Putin and his murderous regime.
“I know not everyone will agree with this, and I fully understand their anger and why they think I’m wrong.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: ‘Sue Gray’s report has finally come out and is utterly damning – exposing a culture of drinking and rule breaking in Number 10.
“The report makes clear that Boris Johnson has repeatedly lied to Parliament and the public, rendering him utterly unfit for the position he holds.
“Boris Johnson treated everyone who followed the rules, who missed a funeral and who lost someone they loved, with absolute contempt.
“It’s a shame that he continues to cling to power – he really needs to do the right thing and step down.
“If he refuses, Tory MPs – including Douglas Ross – should show the courage and remove him from office.”
The report features details of private emails between Number 10 staff and officials discussing the unlawful gatherings.
One such message was a WhatsApp message about a potential reaction to a party in May 2020, sent by Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds.
Mr Reynolds wrote: ‘Good luck – a complete non-story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have gotten rid of)’
Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess said: ‘This report is damning and lays bare the prime minister’s utter disregard for the general public.
“At a time when the people of Moray and across the UK were making incredible sacrifices, Boris Johnson and his entourage brought it to life, broke the rules and laughed it off, time and time again.
“The Prime Minister’s behavior is bad enough on its own.
“But his constant and repeated lies, to parliament and to the public, cannot be tolerated.
“Boris Johnson must be held accountable for this appalling behavior.
“He can’t stay in the job any longer.
“If our MP Douglas Ross wishes to salvage any vestige of self-respect, he must end his pathetic dithering and resubmit his letter calling on Johnson to leave.”
Karen Adam, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, said: ‘We have always known that Boris Johnson was unfit to hold public office, that his enthusiasm for Brexit was naked opportunism and that ever since he became Prime Minister, he was negligent, incompetent and a liar.
“He also broke the law and with the release of Sue Gray’s report today, there is no doubt that he is simply a shameless, licensed liar who should resign immediately.
“Conservative politicians must call for the Prime Minister’s resignation or they are complicit in the corruption of democracy.”