Douglas Ross refers himself to watchdog over £28k of undeclared earnings

The Scots Tory leader failed to declare £28,218.57 from his second job as an MSP and third job as a football referee.

Douglas Ross refers himself to watchdog over £28k of undeclared earnings STV News / Craig Foy via SNS Group
Douglas Ross was forced to refer himself to the Standards Commissioner.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has reported himself over thousands of pounds of undeclared earnings while serving as an MP.

Douglas Ross was forced to refer himself to the Standards Commissioner after reports in The Herald revealed he failed to declare £28,218.57 in outside earnings from his second job as an MSP and third job as a football referee.

The undeclared income included £6,728.57 from 16 football matches in 2021 and 2020, and £21,490 in a top-up salary from his role as an MSP.

Ross has now issued an apology following what he described as an “error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened”.

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The Scots Tory leader said: “This was an error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened, and I apologise for not registering these payments on time.

“Since realising my mistake last week, I contacted the Office of the Register of Interests and made them aware of the situation.

“All payments have now been declared, including those from my MSP salary that are donated to charities.”

However, the SNP said Ross is “knee-deep in the Tory sleaze scandal” following the news.

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SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald MP said: “The rule-breaking Scottish Tory leader must shift his attention from maximising his outside earnings and start focusing on his role as an MSP, which is supposed to be a full-time job.

“Failing to declare thousands of pounds from multiple side hustles is a clear breach of the rules but the bigger concern is that Mr Ross isn’t doing the day job.

“He’s missed crucial votes, including on Tory universal credit cuts, to rake in extra cash running the line at football matches.

“It is time to blow the whistle on Tory sleaze.

“People in Scotland deserve better than this and Mr Ross must finally decide whether he wants to be an MP, MSP or full-time referee.

“By desperately clinging onto his Westminster seat, Mr Ross has scored an own goal.

“Voters are not impressed, and people will rightly question whether he’s doing it to make more money or because he’s secretly planning to quit as an MSP when he is inevitably replaced as Scottish Tory leader.”