THE LEADER of the Scottish Conservatives has challenged the Prime Minister to explain his differing statements about a party at Downing Street.

Douglas Ross has also said there was a "party of sorts" at No.10, despite Boris Johnson insisting today, and repeatedly over the last week, that "no party" took place.

He also said Mr Johnson, or anyone else, would not be able to stay in post if they knew about the party and told MPs it did not happen.

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Ross said: "Clearly what we have seen over the last 12 hours or so with the video emerging, there are serious questions that need to be answered.

"Now looking at what I have seen, there was a party of sorts.

"I don’t think you can get away from that, and there are questions to be answered on why that was allowed as it was absolutely against the guidance this time last year." 

Sketch: Downing Street party: It's official – everyone had a great time at the No10 party that never happened

He added: "If he knew there was a party, if he knew it took place, then he cannot come to the House of Commons and say there was no party.

“That would be a very serious allegation if that were to be the outcome of the inquiry, and we’d have to see the outcome of the inquiry before we speculate on that.

“But anyone who says there wasn’t a party, but knew about it and said in Parliament there was no party has misled Parliament.

“That is a serious charge and you cannot continue in the highest office in the land if you’ve done that.

Mr Ross acknowledged that the Prime Minister said there was no party at Downing Street, but said: "Thats why I think there are serious questions to be answered around what happened this time last year and what has happened in the last week as the Prime Minister has been answering questions in the House of Commons.

"There was a party of sorts. I wasn’t involved, I wasn’t invited, I wasn’t there, but just look at what we have seen since then – there was a party of sorts and that was against the guidance last year."

The MP for Moray, who stood down as a Scotland office minister in light of the Dominic Cummings Barnard Castle scandal, said the public were rightly angered by a video which showed Downing Street staff appearing to joke about the party on December 18 last year.

He said: "Everyone made sacrifices last year; people didn’t meet in the same way at Christmas time, they didn’t see their families as they would normally. They followed the guidance, in what was a united effort to get through this pandemic.

"If the people within Downing Street didn’t follow their own guidance then the appropriate action and strong action must be taken."

Mr Ross said it was "right" that an inquiry has now been launched by the PM into what happened, saying "He has launched this inquiry and I think it is right that we get to the bottom of what happened, what he said and what he knew when he was making these statements.

"That’s now with the cabinet secretary, and I hope we hear very quickly. These questions have to be answered to get trust backin the system.

"We’re still asking people to follow the measures here in Scotland and across the UK."

When asked if he trusted the Prime Minsiter, Mr Ross said he did, but added: " I have confidence in the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom...

"But when he made statements last week, they seem to be very different to the statements he is making this week, and the video evidence that has emerged since then.

"That’s a really serious issue for everyone involved in whatever happened at Downing Street last December.

"I am not shirking from this. The public deserve answers. They view this extremely dimly, they are understandably angry about the fact this has, in some way, been hidden since last year."