Guernsey Press

Ross to quit as Scottish Tory leader and could also stand down as MSP

Douglas Ross said if he is elected to Westminster in next month’s General Election he will stand down from Holyrood.

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Douglas Ross has announced he is stepping down as leader of the Scottish Tories – and will also quit as an MSP if he is elected to Westminster in next month’s General Election.

In a statement released on Monday, the Tory said it was “not feasible” for him to continue be an MSP while also being an MP and party leader.

He said he had initially “believed” it would be possible for him to hold the three posts – as he has since he succeeded Jackson Carlaw as Scottish Conservative leader in 2020.

But Mr Ross added that “on reflection, that is not feasible”.

But ill health meant the Scottish Conservative party management board ruled he could not run – with Mr Ross putting himself forward for the seat last week.

That decision came after a previous commitment from the Tory that he would step down from Westminster so he could focus on Holyrood and his role as party leader.

Mr Ross had also 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.

Mr Ross stressed he was “committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency”.

He stated: “Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention.

“I will, therefore, stand down as leader following the election on July 4, once a successor is elected.

“Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood.”

He insisted: “My party has a chance to beat the SNP in key seats up and down Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. We must now come together and fully focus on doing exactly that.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Dame Jackie Baillie said she wished Mr Ross the “best of luck” but added: “It’s clear that this divided and chaotic Tory party is out of time and out of ideas.

“Voters know that this rotten Tory Government has nothing to offer Scotland – it’s no wonder Douglas Ross has given up on trying to resuscitate the Scottish Tories’ flailing campaign.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton claimed Mr Ross’ decision was “yet more proof of a Conservative party in abject disarray”.

The Lib Dem said: “Just like the SNP, the Tories have been in power for too long, breaking rules and taking you for granted.

“They aren’t focussed on what really matters like fast access to your GP, seeing an NHS dentist, tackling sewage dumping and lifting up Scottish education.

“People all across Scotland have had enough. The Conservatives have got to go.”

Seamus Logan, the SNP candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, challenged Mr Ross to immediately quit as an MSP.

Mr Logan said: “Douglas Ross must resign as an MSP today. It’s clear he’s been forced out as Scottish Tory leader after his shameful behaviour over David Duguid and his growing expenses scandal.

“Voters deserve a dedicated MSP – not one who is hedging his bets in case he loses the  election.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie branded Mr Ross as “perhaps the worst leader in the Scottish Tories’ history”.

He said: “At times like these it is customary to say something conciliatory about a departing MSP, but Douglas Ross has been perhaps the worst leader in the Scottish Tories’ history and the Scottish Parliament and indeed, Scottish politics, will be well rid of him.

“He embodies everything that is wrong with the Tory party in his anti-environment, anti-equality, anti-democratic pursuit of self interest, epitomised by his ill-judged swoop for David Duguid’s Westminster seat even while he recovers from serious illness.

“The fact he only now accepts that he must resign his seat as an MSP if he is returned to the House of Commons shows the utter contempt with which he holds his constituents and the Scottish Parliament.”

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