TORY minister Douglas Ross has been blasted after he refused a TV debate on his government’s derided immigration plans but still managed to find time to referee a football match in Ukraine.

The MP – who has much been criticised in recent years for his part-time job as a globe-trotting assistant ref – was promoted by Boris Johnson last week, and made the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scotland Office.

But he took a break from the new job on Thursday night to run the line at the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Benfica match in Kharkiv.

Meanwhile, the Scotland Office were refusing to put anyone up to defend Boris Johnson’s immigration plans.

That was despite desperate pleas from the BBC.

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On Wednesday, host of BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Martin Geisler tweeted: “We’ve bid for a @Conservatives or @ScotTories representative to come on @BBCScotNine this evening to discuss their flagship immigration policy. Asked Home Sec, Home Office Minister, Scot Sec, Under SoS, @Jackson_Carlaw or any Scottish MP or MSP. Not one of them can/will do it.”

Now it turns out Ross – whose own Moray constituency will be hit hard by the changes – was travelling to Ukraine for the match.

While the new junior minister put out a written statement welcoming the plans, neither he, nor Secretary of State Alister Jack have answered questions from media on the proposals – despite worries over what the new points-based system could mean for Scotland’s economy.

An SNP spokesperson said: “First, Douglas Ross enthusiastically backed an out-of-touch immigration system that will be absolutely catastrophic for industry and economy in Moray.

“Now he’s camera shy – choosing to gallivant around Europe chasing a football, rather than explain his government’s widely condemned immigration plan.

“Douglas Ross has always treated his parliamentary duties as a part-time job – but now he’s also picking up a ministerial salary it’s simply staggering that he is still choosing to pursue a career outside of politics.

A Scotland Office spokesman said Ross has held a number of well attended local surgeries in Moray this week and as a minister had “engaged with a number of stakeholders across various sectors about the new immigration plans”.

They went on to say that Ross “no longer receives an income for these matches since he became a Minister last year.”