Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has apologised for skipping a VJ Day memorial service to officiate at a football match.
The Moray MP was invited to events on Saturday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory in Japan at the end of the Second World War and pay tribute to the fallen.
However, at the same time, Mr Ross was travelling to Ayrshire to run the line at the Kilmarnock v St Johnstone match.
Richard Lochhead, SNP MSP for Moray, who attend a memorial service in Elgin, criticised the reasons for his absence as “disrespectful”.
Today Mr Ross apologised for not attending the Forres service while pledging to donate his match fee, which is expected to be about £445, to charity Help for Heroes.
He said: “I was selected to officiate a game before I was invited to the VJ Day event, and I offered apologies in advance that I could not attend.
“I had not anticipated there being an official VJ Day event given the current restrictions due to Covid-19, but when it became clear there was a conflict, I should have asked to be taken off my game. I got this wrong and I apologise.
“I represent a constituency with a significant military presence and have worked with local and national charities supporting veterans throughout my time as an elected representative.
“I made an error of judgement here and apologise to any veteran who was offended.”
Mr Ross insisted he would continue to referee football matches when he became Scottish Conservative leader – describing the appointments as a “hobby”.
However, he has said he will step away from the sport if he is elected as first minister.
Mr Lochhead said: “I was present at the Elgin ceremony and Mr Ross was expected at the Forres ceremony.
“The reason why he failed to turn up is deeply disappointing and disrespectful.”