Contender confirms plan

Ross puts union at heart of Tory leadership bid

Douglas Ross Moray MP

Douglas Ross: would seek a seat at Holyrood

Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross has confirmed he will stand for leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

The Moray MP made the announcement this morning, following the resignation yesterday afternoon of Jackson Carlaw.

His supporters want to avoid an election campaign which could see him installed on Wednesday evening.

If successful, he will seek election as an MSP at the next Holyrood elections in May.

He has previously served as an MSP, but left the Scottish Parliament for Westminster after defeating the then SNP depute leader Angus Robertson in the 2017 general election.

He has asked Ruth Davidson, the Edinburgh Central MSP, to lead the party during First Minister’s Questions, and she has agreed to step up. It was later announced that Ms Davidson has been appointed to the House of Lords.

Mr Ross resigned from the UK government over the Dominic Cummings lockdown debacle, and his emergence as the favourite to become the next Scottish leader suggests that any differences with Downing Street have been resolved. 

Mr 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.

“My message to voters across Scotland will be this: if you want to build a better Scotland, if you want to beat the SNP, and if you want to put the divisions of the past few years behind us, the party I plan to lead is one you can unite behind, and one that can win.

“I want us to show clearly to everyone in Scotland, no matter where they live or who they are, that if they want to move on from the divisions of the past and focus on the issues that really matter; a strong economy, good schools, safe streets and a world-leading NHS then the Scottish Conservatives will be their voice.

“Scotland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and that’s a relationship I want to maintain and improve. Under my leadership, this will be an absolute priority.”

He said in an interview today that he would continue to be a linesman at Scottish professional football matches and that he would see out his term as an MP, as Alex Salmond did.

Speaking about continuing his role with the Scottish Football Association, he said: “It is a hobby that gives me some release from the often difficult world of politics.

“Some leaders like to read books at the weekend, some like to go hill-walking.”

Carlaw quits

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