All Scottish Conservatives are being asked to back a Lib Dem call to turn on Boris Johnson and force his resignation.
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole Hamilton wrote to Andrew Bowie, David Duguid, Alister Jack, John Lamont and David Mundell asking them to follow the lead of Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross in calling for Mr Johnson to quit.
A party source described the group as “the last five people in Scotland who believe Boris Johnson should stay on as PM”.
The Lib Dems are meanwhile asking MSPs to back calls at Holyrood for Mr Johnson to resign over the backlash at Downing Street parties held during lockdown.
Please take a stand without further delay.
– Alex Cole Hamilton to Conservative MPs
The Holyrood plan would have no legal or constitutional effect on the prime minister’s position but would demonstrate the view in the devolved parliament.
The Conservatives’ large majority at Westminster means the most realistic route of ousting Mr Johnson if he refuses to quit is his own MPs calling a vote of no confidence.
A total of 54 letters of no confidence would have to be submitted to trigger a vote on the prime minister’s future and reports suggest around 20 have been handed in so far.
In his letter to Tories, Mr Cole-Hamilton notes just one Scottish Conservative MP – Douglas Ross – has publicly called for Boris Johnson to go.
He writes: “The British people have sacrificed a great deal over the course of the past two years with many postponing or cancelling significant life events, care home residents going months without family contact and loved ones dying alone in intensive care units.
“The revelation of sustained rule breaking by the prime minister and across Downing Street over the course of two lockdowns has badly eroded public trust and confidence in both the government and in the remaining public health measures.”
‘Please take a stand’
Mr Cole-Hamilton states he has been out speaking to people in Conservative-held areas across Scotland and the MPs’ mailbags “will be brimming with constituents asking you to do the right thing and remove this prime minister”.
“I’ve met people in these areas and listened to the hardships they were enduring,” he writes.
“They were educating their children at home. They were shielding. They were applauding the NHS from their doorstep.
“Now they know that all the while Number 10 broke the rules and partied.
“The country cannot take much more of this. Until there is a general election yours is the only way to remove this prime minister.
“Please take a stand without further delay.”
Scottish Tories rebuff Holyrood motion
A majority of Holyrood’s MSPs, including many Scottish Conservatives, have publicly called for Mr Johnson to stand down after he admitted attending a gathering where Number 10 staff were invited to bring their own booze.
The UK Government is reportedly facing 17 separate allegations about parties and other incidents of breaking coronavirus rules, with an investigation currently under way by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
The Scottish Conservatives have made clear they will not back Mr Cole-Hamilton’s motion at Holyrood and accused the Lib Dems of playing games.
A spokesman said: “We have made our position very clear on the prime minister.
“However, we won’t waste vital parliamentary time on an issue that isn’t within the Scottish Parliament’s remit, particularly when the SNP are failing Scotland on almost every level.
“Mr Cole-Hamilton is using Holyrood to play SNP-style political games instead of focusing on what Parliament should be about – protecting Scottish jobs, restoring Scotland’s schools and improving our public services.
“The Lib Dems are desperately trying to make themselves relevant by taking a page from the nationalist playbook.”