Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has stressed that the Prime Minister is “not on the ballot paper” in Thursday’s crucial Holyrood election as questions continued to be asked about Boris Johnson’s behaviour.
Mr Ross insisted it was him who was leading the campaign north of the border – not the PM, who has not visited Scotland during the course of the election campaign.
Both Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer and the Liberal Democrat UK leader Sir Ed Davey have travelled to Scotland ahead of polling day on May 6.
Asked why Mr Johnson, who came to Scotland in January at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, had not campaigned for his party during the Holyrood election, Mr Ross said: “I’m leading the party here in Scotland, it’s Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidates that are on the ballot paper, not the prime minister, and it is our manifesto that is going forward to the people of Scotland in just a few days’ time.”
The Electoral Commission has this week launched an investigation into whether any donations or loans to pay for the lavish refurbishment of the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat were properly declared.
Mr Johnson has also been forced to deny saying he would rather see “bodies pile high” than impose a third coronavirus lockdown, on top of a lobbying row and allegations of cronyism.
Asked if Mr Johnson had not come to Scotland because he is a “liability”, Mr Ross told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The reason he has not been to Scotland is because I am leading the campaign here.
“I am the one taking the fight to the SNP to try and get the next Scottish Parliament laser-focused on our recovery and rebuilding, to try and ensure we see the investment in our NHS, in our police service, in our education system.
“All these things that are under threat at the moment, we can actually have a parliament focused on these issues if we can stop a second SNP majority.”
The Scottish Tory leader said he was fighting to stop the SNP from winning an overall majority at Holyrood as he appealed to voters who do not want to see a second independence referendum to back his party.
“The polls are on a knife edge right now,” Mr Ross stated.
“Five years ago, pro UK voters, anti-referendum voters united behind the Scottish Conservatives and we’re asking them to do this same at this crucial election, to stop that division, to stop going back to the old arguments and focus on Scotland’s recovery because that is the priority for people here right now.”
The Tory added: “Even pro-independence supporters are saying we cannot risk our recovery and put our rebuilding efforts on the line while the nationalists take us through another damaging and divisive independence referendum.
“There is an opportunity at this election to focus on recovery, to focus on rebuilding.”