Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross says he is still confident his party will do well in the forthcoming local government elections, despite the Tories finding themselves mired in accusations of misogyny.
Mr Ross said the controversy, after a Tory MP was found to be watching pornography in the House of Commons, will affect votes for all parties in Thursday’s ballot.
Mr Ross said it was “right” that Neil Parish has stepped down as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, in Devon, in the wake of the scandal, adding that “his behaviour was unacceptable anywhere, let alone within the UK Parliament”.
But when asked if there was a concern that the situation could hurt the party’s performance on Thursday, he said there will be consequences for all political parties standing in the council elections.
Mr Ross told the PA news agency : “It impacts every party. We’ve seen – MPs were briefed at the end of the week – I think there’s a figure of 56 MPs under investigation.
“I think it’s actually closer to a dozen, according to the independence commissioner who’s looking at these things.
“But that’s people of every different party. Every single one of them is absolutely wrong, if their behaviour is found to be as reported.
“I think it’s good that people are willing to come forward. But they shouldn’t be subjected to these abuses in the first place, and we have to do everything possible to root that out, to get rid of this behaviour from public life across the United Kingdom.”
Mr Ross said he has been “very clear” his party is “going to have a good result” in the local council elections, even with the partygate issue continuing to rumble on for the Tories.
He said he has a plan to take the party “up to and beyond the next Scottish election”.
“We’re going to show people across Scotland that there is an alternative to the SNP,” he said, adding that Nicola Sturgeon’s party is “tired and failing”.