DOUGLAS Ross has been condemned as “spineless” for failing to condemn the Prime Minister and Chancellor after they were fined for breaking lockdown rules.

Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson was also fined for attending an illegal gathering in Downing Street during the pandemic.

When the partygate scandal broke at the start of the year, Mr Ross called on Mr Johnson to resign and submitted a letter calling for Tory MPs to hold a vote of confidence in him.

However after Russia invaded Ukraine, Mr Ross dramatically U-turned, welcoming Mr Johnsoon to the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen, withdrawing his letter, and saying that Mr Johnson should stay in place to respond to the conflict.

After the PM and Chancellor were fined today for breaking the rules they helped frame, all the Holyrood leaders bar Mr Ross called on them to resign.

Instead, the Moray MP said he understood why the public would be angry and called on Mr Johnson to "respond" to the fine.

However, he maintained the war in Ukraine meant it would be wrong to remove the Prime Minister "at this time".

He said: "The public are rightly furious at what happened in Downing Street during the pandemic. I understand why they are angry and share their fury. The behaviour was unacceptable. The Prime Minister now needs to respond to these fines being issued. 

"However, as I've made very clear, in the middle of war in Europe, when Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes and the UK is Ukraine's biggest ally, as President Zelensky said at the weekend, it wouldn't be right to remove the Prime Minister at this time.

“It would destabilise the UK Government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression and the murdering of innocent Ukrainians."

However his predecessor Ruth Davidson, now a Tory peer, disagreed and called on Mr Johnson to quit.

She tweeted: "Met confirms what we already knew: the PM introduced liberty-curtailing rules for public health reasons.

"This caused huge hardship for those separated from ill or dying loved ones. He then broke the rules he imposed on the country & lost the moral authority to lead. He should go.

"To be fair, I also said it before the fines - and as soon as photographs, witness testimony and dragged-out admissions made it clear rules had been broken. We didn't need a Met fine to confirm any of that."

Scottish Labour deputy Jackie Baillie said Mr Ross's stance was giving “tacit approval to the criminality of the two most powerful men in the country”.

She said: “This is a shameful attempt by Douglas Ross to hide his lack of principle behind the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine. 

“That Douglas Ross does not have the spine to condemn Boris Johnson's actions and demand his removal from office is simply shocking.  

“Even Ruth Davidson - who is currently being wheeled out by Scottish Tory spin doctors to save them from electoral oblivion - has said that Boris Johnson must go. 

“No one is above the law and it is simply unacceptable to use the human tragedy in Ukraine to shield the Prime Minister. 

“Douglas Ross should hang his head in shame.” 

SNP MSP Paul McLennan said: “The Partygate scandal has demonstrated without question that Douglas Ross lacks the required judgment to ever be a credible leader.

“After temporarily discovering a backbone to call for Johnson’s resignation, he quickly reverted to type by withdrawing that call so he could roll out the red carpet for his boss at a party conference.

“No doubt his group of Tory MSPs are furious that he marched them all up a hill and has completely destroyed their credibility.

“Scotland deserves better. Thankfully, voters across the country have the chance to show the Tories exactly what they think of them in the council elections on May 5.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton added: “Douglas Ross needs to show some guts and some leadership and call for the criminal Prime Minister and the Chancellor to go. Everywhere I go across Scotland I meet former Conservative voters horrified at how Tories in positions of power have behaved. It's time for a change."

The SNP, Labour, LibDems and Greens are now likely to make the Prime Minister’s character - and what it says about his party and government - a key part of their campaigns for the local government elections on May 5. 

The Scottish Conservatives have been asked for comment.