Douglas Ross has said that offensive comments attributed to Boris Johnson are “indefensible” but stopped short of calling for the prime minister’s resignation.
Johnson has denied accusations that he said “no more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands” in a furious Downing Street rant.
Asked about his boss’ behaviour, Ross said the remarks were “utterly unacceptable”, but stressed Downing Street has denied the claims.
“The prime minister and Number 10 have been very clear he did not make those comments,” the Scottish Tory leader said.
“Those comments made by anyone at any level of elected office in the country would be utterly unacceptable.
“I don’t think I would want to see those comments given any more airtime because they will be deeply troubling at the tens of thousands of families that have lost loved ones here in Scotland, and far too many across the United Kingdom.
“But the prime minister has been clear he did not make those comments.”
Three witnesses briefed journalists that the comments, originally published in the Daily Mail, were accurate.
Ross was asked if Johnson’s position would be tenable if he had make those comments.
He replied: “In terms of the remarks again, I would say they are unacceptable remarks that are indefensible, at any level of government from any person who is in or seeks elected office.
“But the prime minister has been very clear that he did not make the marks the remarks that have been suggested.”
Asked if that meant he could not support a person who made such comments, Ross said: “Yeah. If that person has made those comments they are indefensible, but the prime minister has been very clear he didn’t make those comments.”