Douglas Ross set to miss knife-edge Universal Credit vote to officiate at Champions League match

Written by Liz Bates and Tom Freeman on 18 October 2017 in News

Moray MP Douglas Ross will be in Spain to officate Barcelona v Olympiakos while Government faces defeat over Universal Credits

Douglas Ross - Scottish Parliament

Conservative MP Douglas Ross will miss a crunch Commons vote today, as he will be running the line at a Champions League match in Spain. 

The backbencher, who replaced SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson in the seat at the general election, will appear as an assistant referee at the game between Barcelona and Olympiakos at the Nou Camp stadium, instead of attending a key debate on the planned rollout of Universal Credit.

The Government is facing a revolt over the plans, after Theresa May failed to make concessions when confronted by Tory rebels in a meeting last night.


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This could lead to a showdown in the Commons later, with as many as 25 Tory MPs reportedly threatening to vote with the Labour party.

Former MSP Ross previously came under fire in November when he missed a Holyrood committee to run the line in a Champions League match in Portugal.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said: "He is yet again leaving his constituents without a voice in Parliament because he'd rather rub shoulders with famous footballers.

"This isn't the first time that he's failed to turn up for important meetings, and his constituents will be wondering why he shows no interest in discussing Universal Credit - which is driving up rent arrears and leaving families penniless.

"It's time for two-job Ross to call time on his highly lucrative refereeing career."

The debate will see Labour and the SNP call on the government to “pause and fix” the Universal Credits roll out as a backlog wait for six weeks for their first payment, plunging thousands into financial crisis.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke has insisted the roll-out will continue, albeit tweaked so that claimants in crisis are offered advance payments upfront.

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