Douglas Ross: Scottish Tory MSPs did not ask me to resign as party leader

Mr Ross will step down from his role after the General Election after announcing he would be standing in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat.

Douglas Ross has said Scottish Tory MSPs did not ask him to resign as party leader.

The Scottish Tory chief announced on Monday he would step down from the leadership role in Holyrood following a row over his decision to contest the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat at the General Election.

Mr Ross also confirmed he would quit as a Highlands and Islands MSP if he won the seat.

The issue stemmed from the deselection of former Scotland Office minister David Duguid who was told by the party’s management board he could not stand due to ill health, with Mr Ross stepping in.

Speaking on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the outgoing leader was asked if his colleagues asked him to step down. He replied: “No they did not.”

He said: “I’ve listened to concerns from colleagues that they wanted the leader of the Scottish Conservatives to be based in Holyrood.

“I think it is right that I reflect on what colleagues and others have said and announce that this will be my final campaign as leader of the party.”

When asked whether he had “massively misjudged” how his colleagues would react to him contesting a Westminster seat – after previously stating he would not seek election to focus on his Holyrood and leadership responsibilities – he said: “I think it is fair to say that I have listened to their concerns.”

Mr Ross also rejected that he was only stepping down from Holyrood if he won the Westminster seat as a ”job insurance scheme”. He replied: “No, it’s not.”

And when put to him that it could be perceived as putting Westminster before Holyrood, he said: “I am absolutely not saying that.”

The outgoing Scottish Tory leader also reiterated he would be content with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority reassessing whether there was any wrongdoing in his Westminster expense claims.

He has faced accusations that he may have claimed expenses to facilitate travel to his third job as a football linesman – which he has strongly rejected.

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