PM should quit over Number 10 ‘party’ scandal, says Sturgeon

A video surfaced this week showing Downing Street staff joking about the lockdown-breaching gathering last December.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has called on the Prime Minister to resign over the scandal surrounding an alleged party in Downing Street last Christmas.

The Prime Minister has been under significant pressure this week after a video surfaced showing Number 10 staff joking about the lockdown-busting gathering, which is reported to have taken place less than 24 hours before Boris Johnson announced people could not see loved ones from other households over Christmas.

Mr Johnson, facing criticism from senior members of his own party and hit by the resignation of his former press secretary Allegra Stratton, who was shown in the video, has instructed the Cabinet Secretary to investigate.

Replying to a question from Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay over whether she believes the Prime Minister should resign, the First Minister said “Yes, I do”, before responding to objections from the Conservative seats at Holyrood.

She said: “While Gillian Mackay was asking her question there, I had members of the Tory group shouting at me from a sedentary position that these issues had nothing to do with us here in the Scottish Parliament.

“Well, I beg to differ. I think the principles and the values of openness and integrity and transparency matter to all for those of us who care about democracy in this country.

“I don’t think it is simply a corrupt incumbent of No 10 that has to go.

“I think it’s time for Scotland to get rid of the whole broken, corrupt Westminster system that is holding us all back.”

Ms Sturgeon also said she “almost feels sympathy” for Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross over the issue.

Mr Ross said on Wednesday he believes “some sort of party” had taken place and the Prime Minister should quit if he is found to have misled Parliament over the gathering.

During a highly charged First Minister’s Questions – in which the self-isolating Tory leader had to repeat two of his questions due to noise in the chamber – Ms Sturgeon deflected questions on the oil and gas industry with jibes about the ongoing problems facing the Prime Minister.

Last week, Scottish Greens co-leader and Government minister Patrick Harvie said continued drilling in the North Sea is an idea held only by the “hard right” – comments Mr Ross said were an “insult to every single worker in the North Sea sector and they should be condemned by the First Minister”.

Ms Sturgeon said her Government is committed to a just transition away from fossil fuel extraction in the North Sea.

Mr Ross also sought to excoriate the First Minister after she “joked and laughed” – which he described as “disgusting” – about Mr Harvie’s statement when she quipped: “References to being right wing are references that Douglas Ross seems to take very personally.”

Later in the exchange, the First Minister continued her jabs over the issues engulfing Downing Street, saying: “We have witnessed and are continuing to witness right now many disgusting things in politics, but none of them are on the part of this Scottish Government.

“I almost feel a little bit of sympathy for Douglas Ross today, because I know that he must be deeply mortified by the actions and behaviour of his colleagues in the UK Government, but that is no excuse for throwing around unfounded accusations and trying to cause concern on the part of oil and gas workers just now.

“I, as First Minister, am committed to making sure that we have a just transition away from oil and gas in the same way that we have had that transition away from coal power, because the future of our planet demands that.”

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