Ross ‘disappointed’ by claims that No 10 blackmailed MPs who opposed PM

The Scottish Conservative leader said there needed to be an investigation.

Ross ‘disappointed’ by claims that No 10 blackmailed MPs who opposed PM No10 Downing St
Nicola Sturgeon said the allegations were "gravely serious".

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he was disappointed to hear allegations that No 10 staff had threatened Tory MPs over their opposition to Boris Johnson.

Ahead of First Minister’s Questions, Ross said he himself had not experienced what colleague William Wragg described but that the accusations should be fully investigated.

Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said Downing Street staff said there would be embarrassing stories released to the press if MPs did not support the Prime Minister.

He also said they threatened to withdraw funding to his and other backbenchers’ constituencies if they did not withdraw their opposition to Johnson.

In a statement, Wragg said “the intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter”.

“The reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail,” he said.

“As such it would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police.”

Ross, referencing the Highland League derbies, said: “I’ve refereed Buckie v Deveronvale, Wick v Brora so I don’t think people would try to intimidate me.

“Those games certainly didn’t, and nobody in Government has tried to do that either.”

“I think anyone in the Conservative Party would be disappointed to hear these allegations and it’s right that they are properly investigated.”

Nicola Sturgeon said the allegations were “gravely serious”.

“I would suggest that these accusations need to be fully and, crucially, independently investigated,” the First Minister said.

“With everyday right now, Boris Johnson is tarnishing the office of Prime Minister and I think if he has concerns for the interests of the country, he will go.”

A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s Office said: “If the matters are criminal, they should be referred to the police. If it is a matter of privilege, the Speaker should be informed in the first instance.”

A No 10 spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations.

“If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully.”