Boris Johnson has been branded “a walking advert for independence” ahead of a visit Scotland on Monday.
The Prime Minister is due in Edinburgh and Fife on Monday as part of a “levelling up” tour of the UK but there are no plans for him to meet with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross who has called for him to quit over the Downing Street partygate scandal.
But the trip comes with Johnson balancing the need to answer a legal questionnaire from Scotland Yard officers investigating whether he broke his own Covid laws and the potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The SNP’s Ian Blackford described the visit as a “farewell tour” and said the scandals and the police were catching up with the Prime Minister.
Blackford said: “Every time the Prime Minister visits Scotland, support for independence shoots through the roof as people are reminded of the litany of scandals and damaging decisions imposed on Scotland by this disastrous Tory government.”
“With the police closing in on his rule-breaking, Mr Johnson should use his farewell tour to apologize for the damage he has inflicted on Scotland and hand in his resignation.”
“It’s no wonder Mr Johnson is spending his flying visit hiding from the Scottish people, when the overwhelming majority want him to resign, including his own Scottish Tory branch office.”
“His days are numbered, if he won’t quit Tory MPs must show him the door.”
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labor leader, joined the attack and said Johnson’s snub to Douglas Ross would humiliate the Scottish Tories.
Ross was one of the first Tory backbenchers at Westminster to call for the Prime Minister to resign over the breaches of lockdown.
The Moray MP’s attack triggered a furious civil war between Tories at Holyrood and Westminster, with the then Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg – branded Ross “a lightweight”.
Sarwar said: “If the Scottish Tories welcome Boris Johnson back with open arms, it will confirm once and for all that they are a party devoid of any principles.
“Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister and he is single the biggest threat to the future of the UK.
“This is a humiliating climbdown from Douglas Ross, whose total irrelevance within his own party has been revealed.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The Prime Minister should be making the shorter trip to the Palace to offer the Queen his resignation. The failure of Scottish Conservative MPs to hand in letters to the 1922 Committee shows contempt for their constituents.”
Tory cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis said Johnson is “absolutely focused on the job in hand”, despite being questioned by the Met over partygate.
The Prime Minister has employed the help of personal lawyers and it is reported he plans to argue to police that he was working in his official Downing Street flat on the night of the alleged “Abba party” in November 2020.
The Scottish Tories have also extended an olive branch to the PM by inviting him to speak at their conference in Aberdeen next month, although it clashes with the UK party’s Spring Forum in Blackpool.
Johnson is expected to attempt to heal the wounds of the rift with Ross by speaking by video-link, either live or pre-recorded, although some Scottish Tories want the PM frozen out entirely.
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