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Talk show: Douglas Ross’s ‘honest answer’ on Sturgeon versus Johnson

Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside Bute House in Edinburgh.
Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside Bute House in Edinburgh.

Douglas Ross has said the Scottish people are not “absolutely wrong” to have a low opinion of Boris Johnson and has admitted Nicola Sturgeon is a better communicator than the prime minister.

The Scottish Conservative leader made an extraordinary criticism of his fellow Tory when interviewed by ITV.

Mr Ross was quizzed by interviewer Peter Smith on suggestions that Mr Johnson’s handling of the pandemic contrasted unfavourably with Ms Sturgeon, who had been willing to expose herself to scrutiny through her daily briefings.

The Scottish Conservative leader said he thought communication was “really important” during the pandemic.

Yes, I think most objective people would say she’s a better communicator than the prime minister. That doesn’t mean she’s had a better pandemic.”

Douglas Ross

When asked directly if Ms Sturgeon was a better communicator than the prime minister, Mr Ross replied: “Yes, I think most objective people would say she’s a better communicator than the prime minister. That doesn’t mean she’s had a better pandemic.”

Mr Ross gave his verdict on the same day he delivered a speech, titled Why is Our Union Special?, in which he criticised the UK Government’s handling of the pandemic and Brexit.

Mr Ross was also challenged on Mr Johnson’s negative approval ratings in Scotland, which contrast with the popularity of Ms Sturgeon north of the border.

The Scottish Conservative leader was also reminded that support for Scottish independence was growing.

‘The prime minister reflects on it’

Mr Ross was asked if he thought the prime minister’s behaviour was “being harmful” to the case for Scotland staying in the UK.

“You can’t say that the people of Scotland are absolutely wrong with their ratings of their various leaders,” Mr Ross said. “We have got to reflect on that. The prime minister reflects on it. He gets these opinion polls as well. He’s not blind to opinion in Scotland.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds crabs caught on the Carvela with Karl Adamson at Stromness Harbour during a visit to Scotland in July.

When it was put to Mr Ross that he was admitting Mr Johnson was damaging the case for Scotland staying in the UK, the Scottish Tory leader replied: “You asked me for an honest answer.”

Mr Ross added: “I’m not going to paint this as more flowery than it is. You cannot get away from the current figures. But what you can do is that you can look at them.

“You can address the issues behind them and you can say to the people of Scotland that you take note of this, that you take note of their concerns, you take note of the issues they are raising. Because if we don’t, if we just ignore it and say that’s not relevant then the only people that win are the nationalists.”

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