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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
11 June 2024
Douglas Ross questioned over reasoning for leadership resignation

Douglas Ross speaks to the media in Edinburgh after he announced he will resign as leader of the Scottish Conservatives | Alamy

Douglas Ross questioned over reasoning for leadership resignation

Douglas Ross has addressed questions about why he will resign as leader of the Scottish Conservatives after the general election.  

Ross will also relinquish his seat at Holyrood if he is elected as an MP.  

Taking questions from the media, he was asked whether the decision was made due to claims he used his MP expenses to fund travel for his football work. 

Ross refuted the allegation and said he “is very clear” on his expenses and only claims for “issues affecting his role as a member of parliament” and for “travel to and from Westminster”.  

He added that if the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) wants to scrutinise his expenses again he “is very comfortable with that”. 

The Scottish Conservative leader has also faced criticism from members of his party for U-turning on his decision to stand at the general election.  

The move, which he announced to members of the media last week one day before the deadline for nominations, has led to internal anger from some local Tory members. 

He took the late decision to run for the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat in place of David Duguid who was deemed unable to stand by the Scottish Conservative Management Board.  

Ross sits on the management board, however, has not been involved in decision-making since the general election was called. 

Duguid argues that he can stand at the election, despite an illness which he has been receiving treatment in hospital since April.  

In a statement posted to X last weekend, Duguid said he is no longer seriously ill. 

Ross said that he listened and reflected on the criticism from within his party about the number of roles he could potentially hold if he was elected on 4 July. 

He told LBC News: “There were concerns about me continuing as an MSP and potentially being an MP if I am elected.” 

Ross commented on why he thought the circumstances are different now having already served as an MSP, an MP, and leader of the party before the parliament was dissolved ahead of the general election, he said: “The circumstances are slightly different because I always said that would come to end at the end of this election, which it did.  

“Then the circumstances changed, and I think particularly leading the party into the 2026 Scottish elections, which I hope we continue to have a lot of blue representations on that map as Conservative MPs are elected to the Westminster from Scotland, then we continue to increase our representation at the Scottish Parliament election.  

“But I think it’s right that the leader going into the election is someone based at Holyrood.”  

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