Sat. Jun 15th, 2024
alert-–-douglas-ross-says-he-will-quit-as-scots-tory-leader-after-election-admitting-he-was-wrong-to-say-he-could-stand-as-an-mp-and-remain-an-mspAlert – Douglas Ross says he will QUIT as Scots Tory leader after election admitting he was wrong to say he could stand as an MP and remain an MSP

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross today dramatically announced he is quitting.

Mr Ross said he will stand down after July 4, admitting he had been wrong to think he could stay at the helm as an MP and MSP.

Mr Ross announced last week that he wanted to be nominated as the candidate in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

The move came despite Mr Ross previously having said he would step down from the Commons to focus on his role at Holyrood.

In a statement this morning, Mr Ross said: ‘I have served as MP, MSP and Leader for over three years now and believed I could continue to do so if re-elected to Westminster, but on reflection, that is not feasible.

‘I am committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency. Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention.

‘I will therefore stand down as Leader following the election on July 4th, once a successor is elected. Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood.

‘My party has a chance to beat the SNP in key seats up and down Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. We must now come together and fully focus on doing exactly that.’

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, Mr Ross paid tribute to Mr Duguid and said he had not ‘expected’ to be running, but had decided he needed to ‘lead from the front’. 

‘I know how to beat the SNP and I know how important it is to local voters that we do so,’ he said. 

Mr Duguid was elected in 2017 as MP for Banff and Buchan, the seat neighbouring Mr Ross’s old Moray constituency. But significant boundary changes have led to the creation of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, which is up for grabs on July 4. 

Former minister Mr Duguid has suffered ill health recently and has spent several weeks in hospital but had said he was looking forward to being involved in the election campaign.

However, in a post on social media last night he said he had been informed by the Scottish Tories that they have decided not to put him forward as their chosen candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Mr Ross said today: ‘Going forward, we need a candidate to fight this seat at short notice. Nominations close tomorrow. 

‘This is one of many seats we’re defending against the SNP – and one we fully intend to win with the support of local voters. 

‘Over the last 12 hours, I weighed up the options and I have discussed it with my family, colleagues and local members.

‘After boundary changes this new seat includes part of my former Moray constituency, and some of the council ward I was first elected to serve back in 2007. 

‘This constituency will be very competitive, a hard fought, close contest between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP. I have decided I need to lead from the front.’

Mr Duguid spent four weeks in the intensive care unit in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary being treated for an illness affecting his spine and was then moved to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow nearly a month ago to continue treatment.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he wrote: ‘Last week I informed you of my rehabilitation progress and how I was looking forward to campaigning (albeit without knocking on doors) for the upcoming election.

‘I am pleased to say that my recovery programme is well on schedule thanks to the excellent NHS staff in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Spinal Injury Unit.

‘Notwithstanding this, and despite my having been adopted by our local members, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has informed me tonight that they have decided not to put me forward as their chosen candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.’

Mr Ross praised Mr Duguid and wished him well for the future.

In a post on X he wrote: ‘David Duguid has been a great MP, Government minister and a true champion for his area.

‘As the neighbouring MP I worked closely with him and he was an excellent member of the Scottish Affairs Committee.

‘I wish him and his family all the very best for his continued recovery.’

Mr Duguid served twice as a junior minister in the Scotland Office, from June 2020 to September 2021 and from September to October 2022.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: ‘David Duguid is unfortunately unable to stand in this election.

‘David has been an excellent MP and great local representative for the last seven years.

‘We thank David for all his hard work for the party, we look forward to his recovery to full health, and hope that he will want to rejoin frontline politics in the future.’

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