BoJo Beats Backbench Rebellion by Rattling the Sabre at Moscow
20:47 GMT 10.03.2022 (Updated: 15:18 GMT 28.05.2023)
Boris Johnson's approval ratings have risen sharply since the start of Russia's special operation in Ukraine, as he raced ahead of the European Union in slapping sanctions on Moscow and Russian businessmen in the UK.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's flag-waving — for Ukraine — has swayed the top Scottish Tory to defect from the rebel camp.
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross said on Thursday he had asked Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbenchers, withdrawing his letter of no-confidence in the PM.
Ross, who sits simultaneously as a member of the UK Parliament in Westminster and the devolved assembly in Edinburgh, was one of the most high-profile Tories to call for Johnson's resignation over claims of staff office parties at Downing street during the first two COVID-19 lockdowns.
But since the launch of Russia's 'de-Nazification' operation in Ukraine, even opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has dropped his attacks on the PM over 'Partygate' — which had been running out of steam after months of drip-fed leaks to newspapers.
"The middle of an international crisis is not the time to be discussing resignations, unless it’s the removal from office of Vladimir Putin," Ross said in a statement.
"There will be a time and place to debate Partygate but, as even Keir Starmer said at the weekend, we should put that on pause while there is war in Europe," he added. "It’s essential that we all fully support what the UK Government is doing. In light of Russia’s appalling actions, the government and Prime Minister need our backing, and they have mine and the whole Scottish Conservative party."
Ross' rapprochement with BoJo came just hours after it was confirmed the PM would speak at the Scottish Conservatives' conference in Aberdeen on March 18 and 19.
6 March 2022, 10:49 GMT
Scottish National Party (SNP) Westminster leader Ian Blackford, one of the most vocal government critics and proponents of confronting Russia over Ukraine, called it "an utterly humiliating u-turn for Douglas Ross".
Earlier, SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined calls for NATO to impose a military no-fly zone over Ukraine, despite both Johnson and the US government ruling that out as likely to lead to nuclear war with Russia
"Perhaps only thing nuclear weapons are deterring is the ability to properly and directly help Ukraine," Sturgeon commented glibly.