Five things about the new Scottish Conservatives leader

As Douglas Ross is named the new Scottish Conservatives leader, here's five things you may not know about the Moray MP.

Five things about the new Scottish Conservatives leader STV News

Moray MP Douglas Ross has been named the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Ross took over from Jackson Carlaw, who previously led the party for five months following the resignation of Ruth Davidson. 

With no other challenger putting themselves forward for the role, Ross was appointed leader on Wednesday.

Having only been an MP since 2017, here’s five things you may not know about the new leader of the Scottish Tories. 

He works part-time as a referee

Douglas Ross often swaps politics for football pitches, as he works part time as a referee. 

He was one of the officials for the 2015 Scottish Cup Final.

He was criticised by opposition parties after failing to attend a debate on universal credit due to his commitments as a referee. 

Shortly afterwards he said he would no longer referee while the UK Parliament was sitting. 

However he still plans to continue as a referee where possible whilst leader of the party, saying: “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.”

He resigned from his role in the Scotland office

In a role he had held for just five months following his re-election, Ross quit the post given to him by the Prime Minister. 

He resigned as Under-Secretary of State for Scotland in May in the aftermath of government adviser Dominic Cummings’ efforts to defend a trip to Durham during lockdown.

At the time, Ross said there were “aspects of the explanation” given by Cummings he had “trouble with”.

He said he could not “in good faith” tell his constituents who could not care for sick relatives or say goodbye to dying ones while obeying lockdown rules that Mr Cummings acted appropriately.

He unseated SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson

After working as a councillor in Moray, Douglas Ross decided to stand in SNP deputy leader Angus Roberston’s seat.

Despite standing in both the 2010 and 2015 general elections, Ross was unsuccessful.

After standing for the area in the 2011 and 2016 Scottish Government elections, he was elected as a regional list MSP as one of the additional members for the Highlands and Islands.

However in 2017, he managed to usurp the SNP deputy leader with 47.6% of the vote to become an MP, resigning his seat in the Scottish Parliament in the process. 

He was a remainer during the Brexit referendum

Ross campaigned for the UK to remain part of the European Union during the 2016 referendum.

However once the vote went in favour of the leave campaign, Ross said Parliament should complete Brexit to “deliver the will of the British people”. 

He voted against Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement at the first round of voting and was absent for the second after his wife went into labour.

He has ambitions to be First Minister 

After announcing his candidacy to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ross said he plans to be the First Minister.

It follows recent polls which show the SNP are on course to win a majority in next year’s Holyrood vote.

However Ross 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.”

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