Douglas Ross has officially launched his bid to become the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
The Moray MP confirmed his intention to stand for the role, following Jackson Carlaw’s resignation on Thursday.
If successful, he will seek election as an MSP in May, though he also plans to continue as an MP.
Until then, former leader Ruth Davidson has agreed to stand in during First Minister’s Questions.
Ross said: “This is a crucial time in Scottish politics.
“We are months away from an important election, and need strong, decisive leadership of our party to take on and defeat the SNP in seats right across the country.”
Asked about recent polls which indicated the SNP is on course to win a majority in next year’s Holyrood vote, he said: “I’m absolutely in this to be first minister.
“No-one should enter any race for an election if they don’t think they can win.”
Ross also plans to continue as a football referee and said: “It’s something that I find a great relief from the often stressful world of politics.
“While some politicians enjoy sitting down, relaxing, reading a book or going for a walk, I enjoy running around for 90 minutes officiating matches across Scotland.”