ALISTER Jack, not Douglas Ross, is the true leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Humza Yousaf has said.

During a clash at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, the SNP leader asked why Ross had been unable to whip his MPs to support sanctions against Boris Johnson for having repeatedly and deliberately lied to parliament.

It came after the Scots Tory MSP raised the case of Fergus Ewing, the SNP MSP who reports say faces losing the whip for having voted against Government minister Lorna Slater during a vote of no confidence on Tuesday.

“This week, veteran SNP MSP Fergus Ewing voted against his own government when he refused to support Humza Yousaf’s decision to back Green minister Lorna Slater in a vote of no confidence,” Ross said.

“There are reports that he is going to sack Fergus Ewing because of this. Is he?”

Responding, Yousaf said he was “not going to go into issues that are matter for our group”, before taking aim at Ross.

“What I will say to Douglas Ross, is I’m not going to take any lectures on leadership from Douglas Ross.

“Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who just this week was unable to muster his own Scottish Tory MPs to vote to sanction Boris Johnson.

“Douglas Ross says they did, of course the soon-to-be Lord Jack did not.

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“So, let's be honest, Douglas Ross isn't the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, it is the Cabinet's man in Scotland Alister Jack.”

Jack, a close ally of the disgraced former prime minister, was the only Scottish Tory to publicly back Johnson as the partygate scandal grew and grew in January 2022.

Reports at the time suggested that Ross, who had spoken against Johnson, would be forced to quit as leader of the Scottish Tories if he remained on as prime minister.

It was later alleged that it was Jack who had been anonymously briefing against Ross in an attempt to firm up support for Johnson.

In October 2022, after Johnson had been forced to resign in disgrace, Jack claimed that Ross was a “real friend”.

Ross has also faced rumblings about his leadership from within the party. At FMQs in May, Yousaf appeared to publicly name two MSPs who were on manoeuvres to remove Ross from the top Holyrood group role.

“Why doesn’t Jamie Greene, or Liam Kerr, just stand up and put Douglas Ross out of his misery?” the First Minister said.