Douglas Ross to miss world cup after vowing not to referee during parliament again
Conservative MP gives up World Cup dream after criticism over linesman role
Douglas Ross - Scottish Parliament
Moray MP Douglas Ross has pledged not to officate football games while parliament is sitting, meaning he will miss out on refereeing at the World Cup.
Douglas Ross, who quit the Scottish parliament after being elected to Westminster in June, has come in for severe criticism over his secondary career as a football referee, firstly as an MSP and more recently as an MP..
He was slammed by opponents last week when he missed a Labour motion debate on the rollout of Universal Credit to work as a linesman at a Barcelona game in Spain.
- Douglas Ross set to miss knife-edge Universal Credit vote to officiate at Champions League match
- EU may limit UK’s Brexit transition to 20 months
A party spokesperson had said: "Despite what the SNP thinks, the people of Moray are right behind Douglas and his refereeing, as they showed decisively when they elected him as their MP just a few months ago."
But today Ross admitted the second job would interfere with his duties as an MP.
“I have been blessed to reach the top level in my chosen hobby and occupation and in all fairness to my number one priority, as Moray’s MP, I recognise I can no longer do both,” Mr Ross lamented today.
In a statement to two local papers, he said: “This week I have taken the decision to inform the football authorities that I will no longer be able to accept any appointments when Parliament is sitting.
“The consequence of this decision means that I can no longer do the majority of International matches and my hopes of representing Scotland, and most importantly for me, Moray, at a World Cup, now end…
“As MP for Moray I gave a commitment to the people who elected me that I would always act in their best interests which is why I have taken this decision.”
Ross argued that his work in parliament had not been affected but noted that opponents will attack him every time he attends a game in parliamentary time.
He added: “While my dream of officiating at the biggest football tournament in the World is now over, I hope I’ve shown current and future referees from our area that there are amazing opportunities out there.
“My sole focus now will be representing the constituency of Moray – a job I love for an area I love even more.”
Ross’ decision comes despite a Number 10 spokesman saying last week that his refereeing "does not interfere with his parliamentary duties".
In a new report, the Scottish Affairs Committee urged the UK Government to “take urgent action” to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill
Alex Salmond's reputation rests on the shoulders of the many Scots who invested their dreams in a man who spearheaded going it alone but in the end, found himself in the pocket of Putin
Cross-Party Group on Consumer Protection for Home Energy Efficiency established after go-ahead from Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee
A senior Downing Street figure had asked Alex Salmond to “reconsider” his choice of channel