TORY MSPs quizzed about the Dominic Cummings lockdown scandal have given identical responses to angry voters.
Lothians MSPs Jeremy Balfour and Miles Briggs did not call for the resignation of the Prime Minister’s aide, but claimed the rules should be applied equally.
“When the effort of all levels of government, and every one of us fortunate enough to serve in parliament, should be focused exclusively on dealing with the current crisis, there is simply no time for distractions such as this,” they both replied, separately.
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Cummings, who is Boris Johns’s most trusted advisor, sent the government into a tailspin after he drove 250 miles to Durham during lockdown.
He also said he drove to a well-known beauty spot as a way of testing his eye sight.
Johnson has refused to fire Cummnigs, who led the official pro-Brexit campaign and is believed to have more power than Cabinet Ministers.
The Scottish Tories were dragged into the row after senior party figures initially kept quiet about Cummings’ behaviour.
It has now emerged that some Tory MSPs had agreed the same pre-prepared statement for voters who had contacted them.
Briggs wrote: “While it is a matter for the Prime Minister to determine who advises him and for how long, my own view is that rules must be applied equally and without favour.
“We have come too far together over the last two months, and with such great personal sacrifice on the part of millions of ordinary people, for anything other to be the case.”
He concluded: “As an MSP for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, you can be assured that my own focus will remain resolutely on the task at hand, which is to hold the Scottish Government to account in the Scottish Parliament and provide the principled and constructive opposition our country needs at this time, to help get us all through the Covid crisis.”
Balfour’s response was almost word-for-word the same.
The only difference was Briggs saying he “fully” understood his correspondent’s “frustration”, while Balfour’s reply dropped “fully”.
However, other Tory colleagues broke ranks to demand the resignation of Cummings.
Shadow Cabinet members Adam Tomkins, Graham Simpson, Donald Cameron and Murdo Fraser all called for him to quit, after which leader Jackson Carlaw echoed the view.
Douglas Ross, the Tory MP for Moray, also quit his Ministerial post in protest at Cummings’ conduct.
A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “Both MSPs agreed this was their opinion on the matter, and responded to constituents accordingly.”