IF hubris and hypocrisy were terminal illnesses Ian Blackford would have died on national television this morning (July 8). While being interviewed by the BBC he was rightly questioned on the parallels between his handling of sexual misconduct allegations and Boris Johnson’s. His response was that he was first and foremost sorry for any victim of sexual harassment and went on to claim that the SNP could be a beacon which would take its responsibilities seriously and would protect all staff members.

This is hardly borne out by his actions in the past few weeks. He was clearly recorded calling on the parliamentary group to give their wholehearted support to Patrick Grady and when this recording was leaked to the press the party threatened legal action against the individual who made the recording. Only yesterday you reported that the complainant in the Patrick Grady case has been threatened with disciplinary action for daring to criticise Mr Blackford’s handling of the affair and daring to claim that staff were not adequately protected ("SNP threaten sexual harassment victim with disciplinary action", heraldscotland, July 7).

Mr Blackford’s memory is clearly as poor as the First Minister, who failed to recall important details surrounding the Alex Salmond allegations. I understand her excuse was that she was attending a birthday party at the time. The similarities with the Johnson affair are staggering. To use a favourite quote from another daily newspaper “You couldn’t make it up”.

The SNP remains a toxic organisation and now that Mr Johnson has resigned perhaps the SNP leadership should consider their own positions.

Paul Teenan, Glasgow.


IT would be fair to say that the general public is unlikely to know all the intimate secrets, the flaws, the indiscretions or the true character of our politicians, but just as in any other corporate structure their colleagues will have a better idea of the measure of the man. Given what the general public know about the current Prime Minister it is simply not possible to believe that his colleagues or, more importantly, the Conservative Party, were unaware of the true nature of Boris Johnson from day one.

From his Eton School report onwards his chequered career gives chequered a bad name. He “delivered Brexit” despite previously being on video record saying Brexit was a disastrous idea; I wonder what he was promised if he boarded the red bus. If I knew that Michael Howard and Max Hastings had sacked Mr Johnson for lying then all of Westminster also knew. The list of less than orthodox sexual relationships he has had was also common knowledge, at least one of which involved public funds being issued under atypical circumstances. I would have thought if you can habitually lie to your spouse, lying to others would be a doddle. The list of unorthodox escapades he has been involved in while at No 10 is extensive and as I said earlier it’s unlikely that the electorate know all of it.

One has to question the probity of a party system that would promote such a flawed individual to the position of ultimate power and the moral compass of his colleagues who would not only support such a person to get there but continue to do so when reality strikes. Those ministers who eagerly accepted jobs from Mr Johnson but have recently resigned must have been aware of the facts of the situation for months or years; I find their behaviour repulsive. If a party or our elected representatives behave in this way, then the system is rotten, not just its figurehead. A new Prime Minister is not what we need but radical change to restore democracy.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

• TO be deprived of Boris Johnson as her favourite, if bizarre, justification for ending a 300-plus-year political, social and cultural union ("Johnson: The end", The Herald, July 8), Nicola Sturgeon now concentrates her wrath on (as she labels it) "the whole broken Westminster system". Really? Is she suggesting the UK isn't a functioning democracy?

The Westminster system has been used as a model for democracy multiple times across the world in emerging nations. It is this very same Westminster system that's devolved power to Holyrood, enabling local domestic issues to be by managed from Edinburgh, not London. True, the success of every political system is dependent on the integrity and capability of those managing it. In my opinion, Boris Johnson exhibits little of these qualities. But this doesn't mean the Westminster model is broken or corrupt – and for Nicola Sturgeon to state it is shows she's become increasingly desperate to find justifications for her UK break-up dreams.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.


SILLY me, I thought that time was up for the Prime Minister when I saw him make his resignation speech in Downing Street. He would be out of No 10 by nightfall, and I’m sure one of his patrons would have provided suitably luxurious accommodation while he looked for a more permanent abode.

But no, Mr Johnson clings on like a limpet. Presumably he hopes that something will turn up that will change the mood of the herd and have his MPs flooding back, begging him to stay on after all. It must take a lot of self-confidence to achieve the office of Prime Minister, and Mr Johnson has chutzpah in spades, but this last vain hope of his is delusional: it’s over.

Apparently the favourite to replace Mr Johnson, should he be prised from No. 10, is Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Mr Wallace was educated at Millfield School, which charges boarders £44,000 a year, and then served as an officer in the Scots Guards. I suppose it would make a change from Old Etonians.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


IN his resignation speech Prime Minister Johnson noted that “our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader”.

I assume the word Darwinian is used in step with Richard Hawkins’ idea of the selfish gene, where it is the fittest gene, ie successfully selfish gene, which survives. By Mr Johnson’s reasoning it follows that the most selfish leader survives to succeed. How sad.

We should be looking for leaders who demonstrate selfless, rather than selfish, behaviour in politics. Sadly they do seem rather few and far between.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.


WHILE most eyes were focused on the charade that saw Boris Johnson holed up in No 10, an interesting election took place which yet further highlights the deeply dysfunctional Westminster political system.

Two Conservative hereditary peers were elected to the House of Lords, amassing the grand total of 27 votes between them from their group. Lord Remnant and Lord Wrottesley will replace Lord Brabazon of Tara, who retired, and Lord Swinfen, who has passed away.

The peers simply decided amongst themselves who has the right to make laws, these newly "elected" individuals now sitting in the House of Lords for the rest of their lives, with no accountability whatsoever to the public.

This is a clear affront to democracy and we need to end the farce that sees the UK as the only country in the world, apart from Lesotho, that still picks legislators by the circumstances of birth.

The departure of Mr Johnson does provide the opportunity for radical reform of the House of Lords, making it accountable to the public who pay for it and have to abide by the laws it plays a part in creating.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.


I NOTE that Penny Mordaunt has been widely quoted as a front runner in the Conservative leadership race and by default, potentially our next Prime Minister.

I suppose these days, that notwithstanding any other fine qualities which Ms Mordaunt doubtless possesses, having a set of initials (PM) which happen to coincide with those of the title of the job in question is as good a qualification as any for someone whose aspirations lie in the direction of grasping the poisoned prime ministerial chalice.

Alastair Patrick, Paisley.

Should the use of laboratory animals be outlawed?

Should the use of laboratory animals be outlawed?


IN February 2022 a debate was held in Westminster concerning laboratory animals and whether they should be included in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

As it stands, the AWA 2006 places a duty of care on owners and keepers to ensure their animals' needs are met. This includes a suitable environment to live in, a suitable diet, the ability to exhibit normal behaviour and protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

The act however does not extend this level of protection to animals used or bred for scientific purposes and anything lawfully conducted under the Animals Scientific Procedure Act 1986.

The Government has stated that it has no plans to amend the AWA because if it were to include laboratory animals in the AWA, no animals could be used for scientific purposes.

It is widely reported that there are major scientific problems with animal experiments. Significant differences in our genetic make-up mean that data from animal experiments cannot be reliably translated to people. In fact, more than 90 per cent of the drugs that pass the test in animal models, fail in human clinical trials.

New approach methodologies include the use of human cells and tissues, artificial intelligence and organ on a chip technology. There are better and more ethical ways to make progress in public health while eliminating animals from laboratories. If the UK is serious about its commitment to animal protection, the Government needs to end the suffering. It needs to take ambitious and decisive action to phase out animal experiments and bring in cutting-edge, human-relevant, non=animal techniques.

Fiona McSeveny, Seamill.


REGARDING the universality of the basis of the jokes referred to in recent letters (July 5 & 6), I would remark that no resident of Arran would fail to concede that the view of Arran from Bute is greatly superior to the view of Bute from Arran.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.

Read more: They may be changing the PM, but the damage won't be undone