Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declines to resign over D Day snub

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not be resigning before the General Election, as the fallout from his decision to skip D Day commemorations continues to rumble on.

He vowed to carry on “until the last day of this campaign” as he sought to dampen rumours that he might resign ahead of polling day on July 4.

He was out campaigning yesterday, after taking a low profile over the weekend and avoiding all questions from reporters.

But minutes before he faced journalists for the first time since Friday, news broke that the Scottish Conservative Party leader, Douglass Ross, would be resigning from his position after the election.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a neighbourhood watch meeting at the Dog & Bacon pub in Horsham, West Sussex, while on the General Election campaign trail.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a neighbourhood watch meeting at the Dog & Bacon pub in Horsham, West Sussex, while on the General Election campaign trail.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a neighbourhood watch meeting at the Dog & Bacon pub in Horsham, West Sussex, while on the General Election campaign trail.

With nomination papers already submitted, Mr Ross will continue to fight for the seat, but has said if he wins he will also be resigning his position as an MSP, as well as his position as leader.

Mr Ross, a close ally of Mr Sunak, had been facing claims from the SNP that he had “serious” questions to answer over whether he used Westminster expenses to travel for his job as a football linesman.

He was also facing a backlash, including from some within his party, after stepping in to run in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat.

Former Scotland Office minister David Duguid had hoped to fight that seat, but the Scottish Conservative management board – which Mr Ross is part of – had ruled ill health meant he could not stand for election.

Mr Duguid has denied claims he is “unable to stand” in the election, saying the decision was made: “Based on two visits from the party director and without receiving any professional medical prognosis.”

The former MP – who will not be eligible for a redundancy payment from Parliament – added he was “very saddened by the way this whole episode has unfolded”.

Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie said Mr Ross running for Westminster while Mr Duguid was “still convalescing in hospital” had meant “some in the Conservative Party have finally woken up and recognised what a nasty bully Douglas Ross is and they have had enough of him”.

Rishi Sunak denied claims the resignation was more evidence of “chaos” within his own party and said while he had “enjoyed” working with the Scottish Tory leader, he respected his decision to step down from the post.

Commenting on his decision, Mr Sunak said he had worked with Mr Ross on issues such as “standing up to the SNP’s misguided gender recognition reforms” and promoting the North Sea energy sector.