Douglas Ross was quizzed on Boris Johnson not campaigning in Scotland, Brexit, and a ‘democratic route’ to a second independence referendum in a heated interview with Andrew Marr. 

The Scottish Conservative leader was also asked if Boris Johnson should resign if he was found to have broken ministerial code after he made such calls when Nicola Sturgeon was accused.

The BBC host also quizzed Ross on the Prime Minister failing to campaign in Scotland, adding that Boris Johnson had been to Hartlepool, Wolverhampton, and Wrexham in Wales but not to Scotland, quipping that the wild horses were winning after Boris Johnson has previously claimed wild horses couldn’t stop him campaigning in Scotland. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson: 'Wild horses won't keep me away' from Scotland

When asked about the timescale for a potential second independence vote and a democratic measure on what would secure the vote, Ross said: “Well, I've spoken to nationalists in this campaign when we've been out and about across Scotland. People in favour of a second independence referendum are not in favour of Nicola Sturgeon’s timescale. 

“The fact that we could potentially have another referendum within the next couple of years, Nicola Sturgeon has said that she would be campaigning for that during a recovery, so even pro-independence supporters are saying ‘we cannot risk our recovery and put our rebuilding efforts on the line while the nationals take us to another damaging device-independent referendum.

READ MORE: Exclusive poll: SNP on course for majority at Holyrood election

He continued “There is an opportunity at this election to focus on recovery, to focus on rebuilding...” before Marr interrupted saying: “That’s not an answer. I’m sorry Douglas Ross but that is not an answer I am asking what is the route, the democratic route to independence. 

Responding Ross said: “I don’t think anyone would expect the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party to be suggesting that we should have another independence referendum. I don't want that. I want to focus on education, raising our educational standards that have plummeted over the SNP’s 14 years in power.

“I want to invest more in the NHS. I want to support businesses and protect jobs. That’s what we can do at this election if we get rid of the threat of another independence referendum."  

It comes as an exclusive poll from The Herald showed the SNP were on track for a majority, and that pro-independence parties also looked set to make gains, with the independence support split at 50/50.

Marr also asked the Scottish Conservative leader where Boris Johnson was after he said ‘wild horses’ wouldn’t stop him coming to Scotland during the election campaign - and what had prevented him from doing so.  

“All these things that are under threat at the moment, we can actually have a parliament focused on these issues if we can stop a second SNP majority.”

The Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader responded saying: “Well the Prime Minister knows I’m leading the party here in Scotland, it’s the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidates that are on the ballot paper, not the Prime Minister, and it's our manifesto that's going forward to the people of Scotland in just a few days time. 

“The reason he has not been to Scotland is because I’m leading the campaign here in Scotland. I am the one taking the fight to the SNP to try and get the next Scottish Parliament laser-focused on her recovery and rebuilding, to try and ensure that we see the investment in NHS, in our police service, in our education system all these things that are under threat at the moment we can actually have a parliament focused on these issues if we can stop a second SNP majority and a second independence referendum.

The Electoral Commission has this week launched an investigation into whether any donations or loans to pay for the lavish refurbishment of the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat were properly declared.

Mr Johnson has also been forced to deny saying he would rather see “bodies pile high” than impose a third coronavirus lockdown, on top of a lobbying row and allegations of cronyism.

Ross also added that it was right an investigation was being carried out on the accusations against the PM in regards to his breaching of ministerial code, he was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show if Mr Johnson should quit if found to be in breach of the ministerial code, with Mr Ross having previously called for the resignation of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon if she had broken the rules.

Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon was found to have misled MSPs and Parliament by a cross-party committee of MSPs but I think as your earlier commentator said there are currently three investigation underway in terms of what the prime minister has done and issues around that and I think it is right that we look to have serious questions answered on all those points.”

“Of course I think people expect the highest standards of those in the highest office of the land and that's why I think people are looking at the investigations that are currently on-going and waiting for the answers to be heard.

Ross was also asked by Marr if Brexit has been good for Scotland, citing issues for fishermen and more with the Scottish Tory leader outlining issues with bureaucracy and that work was being undertaken to resolve said issues. He added: “I'm working with all these organisations to resolve the issues that are currently facing the industry but we know that are better times ahead if more quota comes back to Scottish and UK fishermen rather than being tied into the heated common Fisheries policy”  

READ MORE: THE BIG READ: Exclusive interview with former intelligence chief: ‘Boris and Tory government are gaslighting Scots over indyref2’

He added on Brexit: “I think Brexit has allowed us the opportunity here in Scotland to now have more than 2.8 million people vaccinated. Our outstanding NHS staff, British armed forces, and volunteers have got the vital jabs in the arms at a far faster rate than anybody else in the European Union I think people do see that as a way of this pandemic and gives us a lot more hope and optimism. 

HeraldScotland:

“We have certainly seen the biggest risk to the Scottish economy it is another Scottish independence referendum because Nicola Sturgeon has been unable to tell us what the Scottish currency would be, what the border would be between Scotland and England, we do 60% of our trade with the rest of the United Kingdom which is why it's so important we remain a strong integral part of the United Kingdom and all that is at risk in this election with the SNP by the current polls on course to get a majority but there's a way to stop that and that's by voting Scottish Conservatives.”

“I want to stop that SNP majority. These polls are on a knife-edge right now and people know there's a tried-and-tested way to stop that.  Five years ago pro-UK voters, anti referendum voters, united behind the Scottish Conservatives and we're asking them to do the same at this crucial election to stop that division, to stop going back to the old arguments and focus on Scotland’s recovery because that is the priority for people here right now.

The Scottish Conservative leader has claimed the Holyrood election on Thursday “has more at stake than any other”.

Douglas Ross said the SNP would be “making foreigners out of friends and family” if it managed to win a majority and gain independence.

Writing in the Scottish Sunday Express, he urged the electorate to vote tactically to prevent the pro-independence party from taking most of the seats in Holyrood.

He said: “Scotland stands on the brink. This election is not about just the next five years but a generation that has been hit hard by a global pandemic and a vote that could change Scotland’s future forever.

“If the SNP win a majority, they will not just be focused on delivering an independence referendum, but also building the case to persuade us of the need for separation.

“That can only distract attention and divert resources away from our recovery.”