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Moray politicians share their reactions to publication of the Sue Gray Report, as Douglas Ross decides not to oust PM Boris Johnson

By Lewis McBlane

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MORAY politicians have issued furious calls for Boris Johnson to resign after the publication of the Sue Gray report, as Douglas Ross blames war in Ukraine for his failure to rejoin effort to oust the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister was fined for his role in parties at Number 10 Downing Street.
The Prime Minister was fined for his role in parties at Number 10 Downing Street.

Green and SNP politicians shared their fury at new details contained in the long-awaited report, published on Wednesday, May 25, including picture evidence of the Prime Minister drinking at illegal gatherings and evidence of senior staff claiming they "got away with" parties.

Despite the new evidence, however, Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has refused to resubmit a letter of no confidence in his leader – the most likely path to the Prime Minister leaving office.

According to Mr Ross, despite the Prime Minister and other senior staff engaging in "unacceptable" behaviour, a leadership contest was a bad idea as it could benefit Vladimir Putin.

Mr Ross said: “The behaviour outlined in the Sue Gray 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’re right to be angry.

"Most of us fully followed the rules as we were asked to do, but this report confirms those setting the rules did not.

“I initially said the Prime Minister should resign and I only changed my position because of what was happening in Ukraine. A war that nobody expected and a war that is ongoing.

“While President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine continue to call for as much support from the UK and other allies, I think it would be wrong to remove the Prime Minister and enter into a leadership contest lasting several months which would destabilise the situation and the only person who would benefit would be Putin and his murderous regime.

“I know not everyone will agree with that, and I fully understand their anger and why they think I'm wrong.”

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “Sue Gray’s report has finally been published and is utterly damning – exposing a culture of boozing and rule-breaking in number 10.

"The report clearly exposes the fact that Boris Johnson has repeatedly lied to Parliament and to the public, making him completely unfit for the office he holds.

“Boris Johnson has treated every single person who followed the rules, who missed funerals, and who lost someone they loved, with absolute contempt.

"It is a disgrace that he continues to cling on to power – he really must do the right thing and resign.

"If he refuses, Tory MP’s – including Douglas Ross – should show some backbone and remove him from office.”

The report features details of private emails between Number 10 staff and civil servants discussing the illicit gatherings.

One of these messages was a WhatsApp message about potential backlash to a party in May 2020, sent by Boris Johnson's Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds.

Mr Reynolds wrote: "Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with)"

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess said: “This report is damning and lays bare the utter contempt the Prime Minister has for the general public.

“At a time when people in Moray and across the UK were making unbelievable sacrifices, Boris Johnson and his entourage were living it up, breaking the rules, and laughing about it, time after time.

“The Prime Minister’s behaviour is bad enough on its own.

"But, his constant and repeated lying, to parliament and the public, cannot be tolerated.

“Boris Johnson must be held to account for this appalling behaviour.

"He can no longer remain in post.

“If our MP Douglas Ross wishes to salvage any remnant of self-respect, he must end his pathetic equivocation and resubmit his letter calling for Johnson to go.”

Karen Adam, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said: “We have always known Boris Johnson was unfit to hold public office, that his enthusiasm for Brexit was naked opportunism and that since becoming prime minister he has been careless, incompetent and mendacious.

“He also broke the law and with the publication of Sue Gray's report today there can be no doubt at all that he is simply a shameless, entitled liar who should resign immediately.

“Conservative politicians must call for the resignation of the prime minister, otherwise they are complicit in the corruption of democracy.”

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