Douglas Ross faced angry voters while campaigning in Edinburgh after he backed Boris Johnson to remain in Downing Street despite having broken the law.
The Scottish Conservatives leader was handing out leaflets in the Davidson’s Mains district today ahead of next month’s local elections.
Ross attempted to put on a display of party unity by inviting former leader Ruth Davidson to join him on the doorsteps – despite her publicly disagreeing with him over the PM.
Johnson yesterday became the first occupant of 10 Downing Street in history to break the law after he was fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaching lockdown rules in 2020.
Davidson has insisted the Prime Minister should resign – but Ross maintains he must stay in his job due to the escalating war in Ukraine.
And some local voters made their views clear when the Scottish Conservatives pitched up on their doorsteps on Wednesday lunchtime.
One livid resident promptly scrunched up the Tory leaflet put through his letterbox and called from his doorstep: “Take this crap away with you. I certainly don’t want it.”
Alan Webster, a retired civil servant, told the Record it was clear the Prime Minister should resign.
The 61-year-old said he was sickened by the lockdown-breaking behavior of Boris Johnson – but he didn’t hold out much hope for a change of occupant in Downing Street.
“The only way they’ll get rid of him is if Tory candidates thought they would lose,” he said.
Another local – who asked not to be named – handed his leaflet back to a party volunteer moments after it was put through his door.
Asked why, he said: “I don’t trust Tories.”
Standing across the road, another resident made her views on Johnson plain: “I think he’s an absolute disgrace and should resign.”
But others on the streets of Davidson’s Mains still backed Johnson – and by extension Douglas Ross.
Terry Crossley said: “It’s been blown out of all proportion. As far as lockdown goes, the SNP went over the top.
“Boris Johnson is doing a good job 99 per cent of the time.”
Speaking to reporters, Ross stood by his firm support for Johnson despite his law breaking.
Asked by the Record if the party in Scotland was now split on the issue, he said: “Ruth and I took the same position on the Prime Minister back in January.
“Ruth still believes he should resign – but I have taken a different view, with the situation in Ukraine.
“Neither view will get unanimous approval, but I’m looking at situation right now.
“I’ve listened in the chamber of the House of Commons to President Zelensky about how important it is for the UK to support his country against war criminals like Putin.”
‘Hiding behind Ukraine’
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, last night accused Ross of “shamefully hiding behind Ukraine”.
She said: “This is a shameful attempt by Douglas Ross to hide his lack of principle behind the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine.
“That Douglas Ross does not have the spine to condemn Boris Johnson’s actions and demand his removal from office is simply shocking.”
Asked by the Record if he was indeed using the conflict as an excuse, he responded: “I would love it if there was no war in Ukraine.
“I would love if I didn’t switch on my TV at night and see shallow graves of innocent men, women and children as the Russians try to hide evidence of the atrocities.”
He added: “President Zelelnsy said at the weekend that Boris Johnson and the UK Government response has been one of the strongest anywhere in the Western world.
“If President Zelensky, who is fighting these Russians troops in Ukraine right now, appreciates the support of the Prime Minister, I think it is important that we get behind that.”
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