Douglas Ross has come under fire in the House of Commons for refusing to step down as MP for Moray ahead of the Scottish Parliament election in May.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford used his weekly slot at prime minister’s questions to chastise the Scottish Tory leader’s decision, asking Boris Johnson to order Mr Ross to step down.
Despite being top of the Conservatives’ regional Holyrood list for the Highlands and Islands, it is understood Mr Ross has no intention of giving up his Westminster seat.
Mr Blackford said: “The Scottish Tory leader is seeking the place in the Scottish Parliament, but is refusing to step down as an MP.
“So, as his boss, will the prime minister order the member for Moray to resign his seat, avoid a dual mandate and save the taxpayer £175,000 for a byelection, or are dual mandates one more Tory policy where they think greed is good?”
‘Devoid of imagination’
Mr Johnson responded: “I think the member for Moray is doing an excellent job of holding the Scottish National Party to account for their manifold failings, not least on education, failing to deliver on crime and failure in my view to deliver for the people of Scotland so caught up as they are in their desire for independence and another referendum.”
Mr Blackford responded: “We know that Tory leaders in Scotland have a habit of dodging democracy, Baroness Davidson is fleeing to the House of Lords and the current Tory leader is too feart to stand in a constituency.
“No wonder this morning’s Daily Record declared that the Scottish Tories have exposed themselves as shameless, as nasty, and just plain daft.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford uses #PMQs to ask why Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – who is running for Holyrood – is refusing to step down as an MP ahead of the election
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) March 24, 2021
“They are led by a man so devoid of imagination that when asked what he would do if he was prime minister for a day he replied, ‘I would like to see tougher enforcement against gypsy travellers‘.
“Does the prime minister really have confidence in a Scottish Tory leader who doesn’t even have the courage to put himself before the voters in a Scottish constituency?”
Mr Johnson replied “of course”, adding: “Mr Blackford represents a party that’s so devoid of imagination, that he can’t come up with any workable solutions to help the people of Scotland, improve their education, improve the fight against crime, cut taxes in Scotland where they’re the highest in the whole of the of the UK.
“They’re so devoid of imagination all they could talk about is a referendum to break up the United Kingdom.”