SCOTTISH Conservative leader Douglas Ross has been told to 'grow a backbone' and resubmit his letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson.

The SNP said new photos of drinking in Downing Street, and more reports of raucous parties throughout the pandemic showed that the Prime Minister was unfit for office. 

Mr Ross also came under pressure from predecessor Ruth Davidson, who said Mr Johnson had "traduced" the office of Prime Minister.

Back in January, the Scottish Tory leader was one of the first senior Tories to call for Mr Johnson to resign over the partygate row.

He said that the Prime Minister's position was “no longer tenable” after he admitted attending a drinks event during lockdown. 

However, ahead of the Scottish Tory conference in March, Mr Ross performed a spectacular u-turn and withdrew his letter to the backbench 1922 committee in the Commons asking for a vote of no confidence in the Tory leader.

Mr Ross - who sits in both Westminster and Holyrood - said the row should be put “on pause” while there is “war in Europe.”

But on Monday night, he said pictures obtained by ITV News, which showed the Prime Minister holding a drink while standing behind a table covered with bottles of wine and food on November 13 2020, would make people “very angry”.

“The Prime Minister must outline why he believes this behaviour was acceptable. To most, these pictures seem unjustifiable and wrong,” Mr Ross added.

The Herald:

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, said the photos put “beyond doubt that the Prime Minister was partying during lockdown, breaking his own laws, and repeatedly lying to the public.”

She added: “Douglas Ross doesn’t need any more explanations. He needs to grow a backbone and resubmit his letter of no confidence without further delay.

“By constantly flip-flopping over Boris Johnson’s future, the Scottish Tory leader has blown any remaining credibility – and shown himself to be a weak and unprincipled, lame duck leader.

“The Scottish Tories have run out of excuses. The longer they leave Boris Johnson in office the more damage they will do to public trust in this out-of-touch UK Government.

“Tory MSPs should speak out like they overwhelmingly did in January. It is time for them to do the decent thing and speak out again.”

Asked if Mr Ross should resubmit his letter calling for a vote of no confidence, Stephen Kerr, the Tory’s chief whip in Holyrood, told ITV Border it was a “matter for Douglas”. 

He said all of the party’s MSPs felt “disappointed and angry” by the photos.

The call for Mr Ross to act comes as one senior Tory MP admitted he was “talking to colleagues” about the future of the Prime Minister. 

Tom Tugendhat told Times Radio: “I think it’s time for all of us to look at what this country needs.

“And you know, I think we should be pretty ruthless in our in our views, you know... I think it’s absolutely essential that whenever we come up to an electoral event, we look ahead, we look forward. What is the best answer for the United Kingdom?”

Mr Tugendhat, who is the chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, said the cost of living crisis means the country needed “seriousness” at the top of government.

He said: “It’s what keeps food prices down. It’s what keeps energy prices down. It’s what protects the British people. And I’m afraid these photographs just don’t look serious, do they?”

Asked whether Mr Johnson should be replaced as Prime Minister, Mr Tugendhat said: “This is something I’m talking to colleagues about today. And the reason I’m not giving you a yes/no answer is because this isn’t a binary question. It’s about a team...We need to focus on who is going to lead us into the future.”

Mr Ross’s predecessor Ruth Davidson has been far more explicit in calling for the Prime Minister to stand down.

She told Channel 4 News on Monday evening: “There is now photographic evidence that when the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and was asked directly was there a party in No 10 on this date and he replied ‘no’, he lied to Parliament.

“I don’t think his job is tenable and his position is tenable. The office of Prime Minister should be above being traduced by the person who holds it.”

Speaking to the BBC, the baroness added: “We should not be ashamed of holding those we elect to high office, those that we put in leadership positions, to holding them to a higher standard.

“I think the public won’t forget. They know what they were doing that November.

"They know what they gave up and what they sacrificed and what they were asked to sacrifice, while this man who was in charge and telling them to make all these sacrifices was holding up a glass of champagne in a room that was littered with empty bottles of wine, making a toast, making a speech and encouraging people to meet and socialise, knowing that he’d been on television saying that that was against the rules.

“I don’t think the voters of this country will forget that in a hurry.”