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by Kirsteen Paterson
11 June 2024
SNP calls on watchdogs to investigate Douglas Ross expenses claims

Politician Douglas Ross is also a football official | Alamy

SNP calls on watchdogs to investigate Douglas Ross expenses claims

The SNP has urged parliamentary watchdogs to open an investigation into claims that Douglas Ross used his MP expenses to cover travel costs for his football job.

The Scottish Conservative leader has denied weekend reports that he charged the taxpayer for journeys made in relation to his job as a football referee through his Westminster expense account.

The claims are said to cover flights and airport parking and span several years.

Ross, an MSP who is also seeking re-election to Westminster, has denied any wrongdoing.

However, SNP depute leader Keith Brown has called on watchdogs to open a probe.

In a letter to Ian Todd, chief executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), and Daniel Greenberg, parliamentary commissioner for standards, Brown wrote that the allegations could amount to a breach of rules for MPs.

He said: "If these allegations were fully substantiated, it would mean that Mr Ross has been abusing his public-funded Westminster expenses to unfairly fund his receipt of another, separate salary. It would amount to another Westminster expenses scandal carried out by the current leader of the Scottish Tory Party.

"Given the seriousness of this matter, it is in the public interest for these allegations to be investigated immediately.

"The need for that swift investigation is also required because of the fact that Mr Ross is now seeking re-election to Westminster, due to his last-minute decision to displace his colleague David Duguid.

"Voters in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East have the right to know if Douglas Ross has blatantly abused publicly paid expenses over the last number of years.

"Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter. I look forward to your response."

Ross was announced as the Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East after the party's management board decided to replace former Scotland Office minister Duguid on the grounds of ill-health.

Duguid has been undergoing hospital treatment for a spinal illness but has said he is fit to contest the seat.

In response to the expenses allegations, Ross said: "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."

A spokesperson from IPSA said: "We are currently reviewing the information that has appeared in a number of articles over the weekend.

"If there is evidence of any rules within the scheme being broken, we will work with the former MP to clarify the situation.

"If it is necessary, we are also able to refer matters to the compliance officer for IPSA for investigation."

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