Douglas Ross has declined to say if Jackson Carlaw’s Scottish Conservative leadership was discussed when Ruth Davidson made the trip to his home in Moray four days before his resignation.
The newly-installed Scottish Conservative leader said Ms Davidson made the long journey to discuss a “personal issue” but did not answer directly when asked if the leadership had come up in conversation.
The fact that Ms Davidson travelled from Edinburgh for a secret meeting with Mr Ross has led to claims the duo were plotting the downfall of Mr Carlaw.
Mr Ross claimed there was no plot, but dodged the question when asked if Mr Carlaw ‘s situation had been discussed when Ms Davidson travelled north.
Earlier this week Ms Davidson was asked on BBC’s The Nine programme if there had been a plot to oust Mr Carlaw.
It was after Jackson resigned that I asked her to front FMQs.”
The programme’s host, Martin Geissler, asked Ms Davidson if she had been helping Mr Ross before Mr Carlaw’s resignation?
Ms Davidson, who served as Scottish Conservative leader for eight years, replied: “No, no, no, after.”
When asked a similar question Mr Ross referred to a statement issued by the Conservatives, which said Ms Davidson had visited on a “personal matter”.
“It was after Jackson resigned that I asked her to front FMQs,” Mr Ross said.
When asked if there were any discussions during the visit about Mr Carlaw’s position, Mr Ross said: “I hope you understand that when you are discussing a personal issue, I don’t think it is right that it is discussed in news and in the media. We have put out a statement on that and it has been covered by the party.”
Pressed if there had been a plot to persuade Mr Carlaw to leave, Mr Ross said: “The statement confirms that was not the case, because I asked Ruth (to do FMQs) after Jackson resigned.”
Finally, Mr Ross was asked if Mr Carlaw’s name had come up during their meeting.
He replied: “You can ask me a hundred times, but I think we have been quite upfront putting out that statement yesterday clarifying that Ruth was visiting on a personal matter and after Jackson resigned I asked her to take over at FMQs.”
Ms Davidson was unavailable for comment.