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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross (Photo: Andrew Milligan via PA Wire/PA Images)
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has announced that he will back moves to dump Boris Johnson as prime minister.
Douglas Ross said he would support the motion of no confidence in the PM.
His decision marks a rare double U-turn, after he initially called for Johnson to resign over lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, before saying he should stay on because of the war in Ukraine.
That led to the Moray MP being the subject of widespread ridicule from his political opponents.
But in a statement on Twitter following Johnson’s appearance in front of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, Ross said he had now decided that the PM should go.
He said: “While war in Europe continues and the UK government is providing such strong support to President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine, the timing of this vote is far from ideal.
“However, while I’ve not sought to bring this vote about at this time, it is now going ahead tonight and I’ve had to consider how to vote on behalf of my constituents and the country.
“I do so knowing there are vocal opinions on both sides of this argument, an argument that has dominated much of the political discussion for many months.
“The prime minister can be proud of many of the successes his government have led on, particularly the Covid vaccine and the furlough scheme.
“However, I have heard loud and clear the anger at the breaking of Covid rules that we all did our best to follow, and even more so at the statements to Parliament from the Prime Minister on this topic.
“Having listened closely to people in Moray who re-elected me to represent them, and from many people across Scotland, now that this confidence vote is upon us, I cannot in good faith support Boris Johnson.
“My vote tonight will support the motion of no confidence.”
Ross’s decision puts him at odds with Alister Jack, the secretary of state for Scotland and an ally of the PM.
He said: “The prime minister has my full support and I will be voting to back him tonight. He is showing tremendous leadership as we face major challenges at home and abroad.”
In a further sign of the splits among the Scottish Tories, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont quit as an aide to foreign secretary Liz Truss to vote against the PM.
— John Lamont MP 🇬🇧🏴 (@John2Win) June 6, 2022
Meanwhile, Alister Jack’s predecessor as Scottish secretary, David Mundell, confirmed that he had also voted in favour of the motion of no confidence.
After a difficult couple of years and listening to the views of my constituents, I voted tonight for a fresh start and new leadership for our country.
— David Mundell MP (@DavidMundellDCT) June 6, 2022
Former Conservative vice-chair Andrew Bowie, the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, also voted against the PM.
He said: “Tonight, and with a heavy heart, I have taken the extremely tough decision to vote against the Prime Minister. I have not taken the decision lightly, at all, but after listening to my constituents.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.