Boris Johnson has been described as more of an “undertaker” than a caretaker prime minister, as leading political figures in Tayside and Fife react to his resignation.
After dozens of his own cabinet members handed in their resignations, Mr Johnson finally accepted his time in office must come to an end.
But with the nation still facing months of him as a caretaker prime minister, local politicians said it is “unbelievable” Mr Johnson is not leaving straight away.
‘I am just relieved this is all over’
Pete Wishart, who has been in Westminster as the MP for Perth and North Perthshire for 21 years, said the prime minister has left the UK Government in “chaos”.
“There have been a lot of crucial days in my 21 years, but this ranks at the top,” he said.
“I am just relieved this is all over.
“He is the worst prime minister in history and the only saving grace is it has been short lived. The party have got rid of him remarkably quickly.
“He has suggested he could continue as a caretaker but he is more an undertaker than a caretaker.
“It is unbelievable that he will try to cling on to his position.”
That was awful. Still doesn’t get it, even at the end. #byeBoris
— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) July 7, 2022
Lord turns his back on Johnson
Perthshire-based Lord Ian Duncan said Mr Johnson needs to go “sooner” than the autumn leaving date he is currently planning.
He said: “The alternative is an interim prime minister serving for a period until a new leader is elected, and that’s certainly possible.
“I think it would be difficult for Boris after the last two days particularly to serve as prime minister for what could be months.”
Lord Duncan added he would find it “very difficult” to support anyone who served in Mr Johnson’s cabinet in a leadership bid as they were “complicit” in sustaining his premiership.
He said: “If the right candidate is able to come along, they may be able to win people around, but they will be winning them around, it’s not that they will slot back into place as once it was.[jwplayer 73g7XCck]
“That will be a real test for the incoming leader and for the party.
“If this could all be tied up by moving Boris Johnson it would be relatively straightforward, but there’s been a whole cabinet complicit in a whole range of aspects of this charade for months.
“There are people who have not done the right thing and gone to the prime minister before and said this is unsustainable.
“Those criticisms of individuals will linger.”
Baroness Ruth Davidson, herself a former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, added: “There is no way he can stay on until October.
“It’s arrant nonsense to think he can. Someone needs to grip this.”
MPs should ‘seriously reflect’, say SNP
Meanwhile at Holyrood many in the SNP welcomed the news Mr Johnson is being shown the door.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the fact it took so long to get rid of the prime minister is a “damning reflection” on the Conservative Party.
The Perthshire North MSP added: “As prime minister he has stripped us of our rights, debased basic standards of public decency and broken the law.
“This is something Tory MPs should seriously reflect upon.”
He added: “This democratic deficit did not begin and will not end with Boris Johnson.
“It is clear the Westminster system is fundamentally broken and that Scotland can do so much better.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Given Boris Johnson has so clearly lost the confidence of the UK – and I think that has been the case for some time according to not just opinion polls, but recent by-elections – he has also lost the confidence of the House of Commons and his own party.
2. Boris Johnson was always manifestly unfit to be PM and the Tories should never have elected him leader or sustained him in office for as long as they have. But the problems run much deeper than one individual. The Westminster system is broken.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 7, 2022
“It is just an unsustainable proposition to say that he will continue to inhabit No 10 for three to four months.
“Particularly given the character and personality of Boris Johnson, I’m not sure anybody can look at him and conclude that he is capable of genuinely behaving as a caretaker prime minister.
“He will want to do things and in the process of that undoubtedly cause more chaos than he has already.”
Elsewhere in Holyrood Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser says Boris Johnson has had “significant achievements” as prime minister, but it is now clear he cannot continue.
He says he has “no particularly strong view” on how long he stays at No 10, and hasn’t decided who he will back in a leadership contest.