Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, energy minister Greg Hands said he has a “very, very good relationship” with leader Douglas Ross and rejected suggestions that Ross, who called for Boris Johnson to resign over the scandal Partygate, you should “wind your neck inside.”
However, Hands also insisted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done some “great things” in his leadership, despite a growing lack of support for his continued leadership.
Johnson is expected to face a no-confidence vote from MPs this week.
Hands’ comments came as former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith defended Johnson as the right person to lead the Conservative Party to another general election and urged him to “resolve this whole crisis”.
Hands said he believes the Scottish Conservatives will do well in local elections in May this year, citing an “anti-Scotland” energy policy by the SNP government.
He said: “I talk to Douglas Ross and other Scottish Conservatives all the time. We have a very good relationship in terms of energy, which is my summary.”
Asked if Ross should “turn his neck” over whether Johnson should stand down, Hands said: “It’s perfectly fine for Scottish Conservatives to have a different opinion on certain things.”
He added: “I think the Scottish Conservatives will do very well in May this year. The Scottish SNP government has been failing in areas like energy, its opposition to nuclear power, its lack of support for oil and gas. anti-Scotland policy when it comes to energy, so I think our chances are good.”
However, he dodged questions about whether Johnson should campaign in Scotland.
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He said: “I think we have plenty of campaign forces on the ground. We have a fantastic campaign arm in Scotland and I have every confidence in their ability to deliver a good result in May.”
Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Sir Iain balked at the prospect of a leadership election, saying the partygate saga and its aftermath were distracting attention from issues such as the cost of living crisis.
He warned that the “internal war” culminating in a no-confidence vote should not be the priority as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.
“My feeling right now is that if we go and plunge into a leadership election, a vote of confidence, which in the end always hurts the leaders, even if they win it, and then maybe a leadership election, an internal war , in the midst of which we’re facing a major cost-of-living crisis … (solving that), that’s our number one priority,” he said.
He said other political players who may be vying for a leadership bid should “temper their ambition”.
Asked if Johnson was the “right person to lead the Conservative Party” in the next election, Sir Iain added: “Well at the moment I do, which is why I said that as far as I am concerned, the Prime Minister it’s the only one”. that has to solve this.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.