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by Kirsteen Paterson
10 June 2024
Douglas Ross urged to make Holyrood statement about MP expense claims

Douglas Ross | Alamy

Douglas Ross urged to make Holyrood statement about MP expense claims

Douglas Ross must make an urgent statement to parliament over claims that he used his MP expenses to fund travel for his football work, the SNP has said.

The Scottish Conservative leader, an MSP who is seeking re-election as an MP, also works as an SFA linesman.

This weekend allegations emerged that he had charged the taxpayer for costs relating to his football job.

The Sunday Mail reported that 28 such claims had been identified by his team, but had been "hushed up by worried aides".

According to the newspaper, Ross submitted parliamentary expense claims for flights from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he was running the line at football games, but gave officials the impression that he was going back to his Moray constituency.

According to the rules, only travel from an MP's declared home airport can be claimed as constituency travel, with other routes classed as a "diverted journey" and evidenced with a detailed explanation.

Ross claimed for parking charges at Inverness Airport in July 2018, while parliament was in recess, and a rail ticket from Heathrow to central London the day after he officiated a football match in Iceland.

In October 2019 he claimed for a flight to Glasgow from London and car parking costs. 

In November 2020 he claimed for parking on the same day he refereed a Celtic match.

The paper said the details had been leaked by a party staffer after Ross, who had declared he would not run in the general election, replaced David Duguid as Conservative candidate for the new Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

Ross has denied any wrongdoing, stating: "I have only ever claimed expenses related to my role as a member of parliament and the costs of getting me to and from Westminster.

"These have all been agreed by IPSA, the independent body that oversees MPs expenses, but I would have no issue with them being scrutinised again."

However, the SNP says Ross must explain his position to parliament.

Stewart Hosie, who is directing the SNP general election campaign, said: "Douglas Ross must make an urgent statement to the Scottish Parliament about his expenses - and answer questions about these worrying reports.

"It's bad enough that Mr Ross has three jobs and threw his own colleague under a bus to take his seat but there are now very serious questions to answer about public money.

"Members of parliament must be given the opportunity to quiz Mr Ross on whether he has been using taxpayers' money to cover costs for his third job as a linesman."

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