Tory MP Douglas Ross earned almost £2,000 for refereeing Champions League game during universal credit vote

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 14 December 2017 in News

Douglas Ross faced criticism after missing Universal Credit vote to officiate Barcelona game

Douglas Ross - image credit: House of Commons

Tory MP Douglas Ross has faced criticised after it emerged he received almost £2,000 for being a linesman at a Champions League match in Barcelona while MPs debated Universal Credit.

The Moray MP sparked controversy after he was given permission by Conservative whips to miss the debate in order to officiate at the Nou Camp.

Ross - who was elected in June after defeating the SNP's Angus Robertson - was absent as Labour inflicted a symbolic Commons defeat on the Government after ministers abstained on a motion to pause the rollout of the controversial new welfare regime.

According to the latest Register of Members’ Interests, he earned £1,970 for his 1.5 hours of work at the Barcelona v Olympiakos clash in October.

An SNP spokesman told Holyrood’s sister site PoliticsHome: “Part-time politician Douglas Ross pledged before the election that he wouldn’t let his refereeing get in the way of his duties as an MP.

“He’s failed to live up to his promises, and he’s been posted missing on key votes in the Commons and important business in his constituency. He’s a total disgrace.

“The PM even had to call him into line after he missed an important debate on Universal Credit, to run the line at a Champions League match in Spain.”

The spokesperson added: “He coined in £2k, rubbing shoulders with Messi in Barcelona, while ignoring the plight of his constituents who are being hammered by Tory welfare cuts.

“And I’m pretty sure he didn’t have to wait six weeks to receive his payments.”

As the row reached its peak two months ago Downing Street said the MP's time would be "better spent" officiating at a Champions League than taking part in the debate.

Following the controversy, the MP gave up his dream of refereeing at the World Cup next summer.

Ross said: "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.”

His register of interests shows he made a total of £11,300 working at football matches since he was elected in June. 

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