10 Jun 2024

Douglas Ross to resign as leader of Scottish Conservatives

Scotland Correspondent

Douglas Ross has announced he will resign as leader of the Scottish Conservatives after the election, and he could also quit his role as an MSP at Holyrood if he’s voted into Westminster again as an MP. I asked our Scotland Correspondent Kathryn Samson what is behind this move.

Kathryn Samson: This is quite the statement to be making right in the middle of an election campaign. My phone lit up this morning with people from across the political spectrum wondering, what on earth is Douglas Ross doing here? But remember, he has been under intense pressure since making that U-turn last week announcing that he would be running again for Westminster. He’s doing that in a seat in the northeast, where his colleague David Duguid was blocked by the party from standing. David Duguid has been in hospital recovering from a spinal injury, but insists he was well enough to stand.

That is something that sparked fury in the local association and disbelief among many of Douglas Ross’s colleagues at Holyrood who were already, some of them, unhappy that he’s had three jobs – MP, MSP and also a part-time football linesman. Over the weekend then we’ve got some allegations in the paper that Mr Ross had been using Westminster expenses to cover some travel for that football job. He today was denying any wrongdoing in that area but he says he has been listening to his party, when asked if they’d pushed him out.

Douglas Ross: In terms of my group and others, there have been comments in the papers that have shown that people are unhappy with the decision I took. So I’ve listened to them, and I want to make it very clear that on the 4th of July, this will be my final campaign as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, but I want to see us winning as many key seats as possible where it is a straight choice between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP.

Kathryn Samson: What is extraordinary about the timing of this is this wasn’t expected to be a particularly bruising election for the Conservatives in Scotland. In some rural areas they can really benefit from an anti-independence vote. So the way this drama has unfolded, to many of his opponents, must look like an own goal.


Aberdeenshire North & Moray East Constituency

Ian Bailey – Liberal Democrats

Andy Brown – Labour

Jo Hart – Reform UK

Seamus Logan – SNP

Douglas Ross – Conservative