Sturgeon calls for independent inquiry into 'gravely serious' Downing Street accusations

Nicola Sturgeon has called for an independent inquiry into allegations of bullying and blackmail by Boris Johnson's allies.

The First Minister was responding after senior Conservative backbencher William Wragg accused Number 10 Downing Street of seeking to undermine MPs who are challenging Boris Johnson's leadership.

She told Representing Border such behaviour may even amount to "corruption".

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the accusations are "serious" and should be "investigated".

However, Mr Ross said that despite calling for the Prime Minister to stand down, he had not been "bullied" or "blackmailed" himself, and had not been informed of such behaviour by other Conservative MPs.

Another senior Scottish Conservative MSP, Liz Smith, said the accusations were "extraordinary" and should be investigated.

They were responding to comments from William Wragg, the chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

The senior Conservative MP said Number 10 staff, special advisers and government ministers had said there would be embarrassing stories released to the press if MPs did not support the prime minister.

He also said Number 10 had threatened to withdraw funding to his and other backbenchers' constituencies if they did not withdraw their opposition to Mr Johnson.

Mr Wragg is one of seven Conservatives to publicly call on the PM to resign over the partygate scandal - there had been eight before Christian Wakeford defected to Labour on Wednesday.

Responding, a No 10 spokesman said: "We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations.

"If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully."

The South of Scotland's Conservative MSPs. Credit: ITV Border

All of the South of Scotland's Conservative MSPs have supported their leader Douglas Ross's call for Boris Johnson to resign, apart from Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, who has not commented.

Scottish Secretary and Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has backed the Prime Minister, while the South of Scotland's two other Conservative MPs, David Mundell and John Lamont, are yet to comment.