Boris Johnson has been invited to speak at the Scottish Conservative party conference – despite Douglas Ross standing by his view that he should resign as Prime Minister.
There had previously been suggestions that Johnson would not be involved in the party’s spring conference after Ross, the leader of the party, and MSPs backed calls for him to go over parties held at Downing Street.
However, the Scottish Conservatives have now confirmed that the Prime Minister will be invited to address those in attendance.
Although, they insist that the position of Ross on the issue “has not changed”.
Last month, Ross described Johnson’s position in No 10 as ‘no longer tenable‘, after revelations emerged of lockdown-breaking gatherings held at his residence during the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said that Ross was a ‘lightweight figure‘ within the Conservative party.
Despite the call for Johnson to resign, a Scottish Conservative spokesman confirmed that an invitation to attend conference will be extended to the Prime Minister.
“Douglas Ross has made his position very clear and that has not changed,” they said.
“However, just as has been the case every other year, the Prime Minister will be invited to address party conference.
“Under Douglas Ross’ leadership, the Scottish Conservatives secured an extra 100,000 votes at last year’s election. We remain focused on holding the SNP to account and Scotland’s recovery from Covid.”
SNP MP Pete Wishart described the invitation to Johnson as an “embarrassing U-turn”.
“This is a humiliating climbdown for Douglas Ross, which demonstrates that the Scottish Tory party is nothing more than a branch office under the control of Tory HQ in Westminster,” he said.
“Such an embarrassing U-turn leaves Mr Ross with egg all over his face and will do little to counter claims by senior Tories that he is a ‘lightweight’ whose authority is crumbling.
“It simply isn’t credible for the Scottish Tories to demand Boris Johnson’s resignation one week, then invite him to give a keynote speech the next.
“This will only add to speculation that the Scottish Tory leader is on his way out the door. They can’t both credibly remain in post.”