General election 2024: Douglas Ross to quit as Scottish Tory leader and will resign as MSP if elected as MP

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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has announced he is to stand down after the general election and will also resign his seat in in the Scottish Parliament if he is elected as an MP.

The news came after he was criticised for his decision to stand for re-election to Westminster despite previously saying he would quit the Commons to concentrate on his Holyrood role.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will quit the role after the electionScottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will quit the role after the election
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will quit the role after the election

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And he was accused of stabbing Tory colleague David Duguid in the back after it was announced he would be the candidate for Aberdeen North and Moray East constituency, even though Mr Duguid, a former UK Government minister, had wanted to fight it.

Mr Duguid was recovering from a spinal illness, but insisted he would be able to campaign. However, the Scottish Conservative Party management board ruled ill health meant he should not stand.

Mr Ross revealed his resignation plans in a statement released shortly before 10am on Monday.

It said: "I have served as MP, MSP and Leader for over three years now and believed I could continue to do so if re-elected to Westminster, but on reflection, that is not feasible.

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 “I am committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.  Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention.

 “I will therefore stand down as Leader following the election on July 4th, once a successor is elected. Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood. 

 “My party has a chance to beat the SNP in key seats up and down Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. We must now come together and fully focus on doing exactly that.”

Mr Ross was elected unopposed as Scottish Tory leader in 2020 after his predecessor Jackson Carlaw resigned. But because he was an MP and not an MSP at the time, Ruth Davidson returned to the helm at Holyrood until the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

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He has also faced criticism over juggling his Holyrood and Westminster responsibilities with his role as a football linesman.

Seamus Logan, the SNP candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, said Douglas Ross should resign as an MSP immediately. “It's clear he's been forced out as Scottish Tory leader after his shameful behaviour over David Duguid and his growing expenses scandal. Voters deserve a dedicated MSP - not one who is hedging his bets in case he loses the  election.”

Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie said: “Voters know that this rotten Tory government has nothing to offer Scotland – it’s no wonder Douglas Ross has given up on trying to resuscitate the Scottish Tories’ flailing campaign.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Col-Hamilton said Mr Ross’s announcemet was “yet more proof of a Conservative party in abject disarray”.

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And Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said: “This is the first case of a rat deserting a sinking ship whilst simultaneously trying to clamber aboard a gravy train. Douglas Ross requires to resign as candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray Easy where he stabbed David Duguid in the back.” 

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