DOUGLAS Ross has launched his bid to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

There were rumours the Moray MP would run for the position minutes after Jackson Carlaw stepped down on Thursday – and last night he confirmed he would do so.

This morning Ross launched his campaign website, in which he lays out his intention to “unite to take Scotland forward”.

In his statement he says he aims to represent “patriotic Scots who just want government to provide practical, pragmatic answers to the challenges we face”.

He also appears to take a dig at some of his Holyrood colleagues, writing “unlike some – I’m not running up the white flag in the contest against the SNP at next year’s Holyrood elections”.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross is not well-liked, whatever the Tories say

Yesterday MSP Adam Tomkins, who will not seek re-election in 2021, conceded that support for Scottish independence is now the “majority” position in Scotland.

In his campaign launch Ross explains he will be running on a “joint ticket” with former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson – although given she intends to leave Holyrood next year to take up her position in the House of Lords, it is unclear how that will work in practice.

Ross has asked Davidson to represent the Scottish Tories in Holyrood at FMQs until a new leader is elected. If he is successful, he intends to stand in next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

The former Scotland Office minister says “while our opposition to a second independence referendum will remain as firm as ever, our focus is going to move on from the 6 year old contest of No v Yes”.

Support for Scottish independence is currently at 54% according to recent polls, and the SNP look set to gain a majority in the Scottish Parliament vote next year.

The Moray MP made headlines earlier in the year when he resigned from the Scotland Office amid the Dominic Cummings scandal. The PM’s top adviser drove from London to his parents’ Durham farm while sick with Covid-19 at the height of lockdown, insisting the journey was for childcare purposes.

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Since Ross announced his intention to run as Scottish Tory leader, his previous comments about “Gypsy Travellers” have also resurfaced in the papers.

Back in 2017 he came under fire for saying a crackdown of Gypsies and Travellers would be his number one priority if he were prime minister for a day. The comments sparked outcry from anti-racism campaigners.

But aside from anger over those comments, his recent claim that Scots “cheered and waved” at Boris Johnson during his visit to Scotland, and rows over Ross’s second job as a referee, what does he stand for?

Here’s a brief overview of how Ross has voted in the House of Commons:


The National: NHS Scotland staff offered 9% pay rise

Most recently, all six Scottish Tory MPs voted down efforts to protect the NHS from control from outside the UK after Brexit. As well as protecting the health service from foreign control, the Trade Bill amendment sought to ensure that in any trade deal the ability to provide a free-at-the-point-of-delivery service was not compromised, staff would not have wages or rights slashed, medicine pricing was controlled and patient data was not sold off. We Own It campaigns officer Ellen Lees said it was “frankly sickening” that Tories did not protect the NHS in the Bill.


The National: GVs of Scottish Parliament

Ross voted down another Trade Bill amendment seeking to ensure devolved governments are given a say in post-Brexit trade deals. All six Scottish Tory MPs voted down this amendment. Stewart Hosie, Margaret Ferrier, Ben Lake, Joanna Cherry and Colum Eastwood had submitted the amendment to ensure Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could give their consent to trade regulations containing matters within their remit.

Food and farming:

The National: David Mundell and the five other Scottish Tory MPs voted against the amendment David Mundell and the five other Scottish Tory MPs voted against the amendment

Back in May, Ross and the five other Scottish Tory MPs voted down an attempt to protect the UK food and farming sector from sub-standard imports after Brexit.

Fellow Tory MP Neil Parish had tabled the amendment to the Agriculture Bill seeking to enshrine in law the principle that imported food would have to match UK farmers’ quality and animal welfare standards. The chairman of the National Sheep Association in Scotland said farmers had been “thrown under the bus” by the Tories.

The constitution:

The National: The Welsh Assembly, based at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay (pictured), looks set to be renamed the Welsh Parliament or Senedd Cymru

Ross has generally voted against transferring more powers to the Welsh and Scottish parliaments. He has voted against introducing a more proportional system for electing MPs. In 2018 he voted to reduce UK Government funding of local governments.


Ross has consistently voted to bring in a stricter asylum system. For example on June 30, the MP voted to remove rights for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, spouses, vulnerable and dependent adults to join a member of their family already legally present in the UK.

The environment:

Back in February, after horrendous fires in Australia, a majority of MPs voted against calls for the UK Government to develop and implement a plan to eliminate most transport emissions by 2030. Ross was one of the 310 MPs who voted against this move. In 2019 he also voted against a Queen’s Speech amendment seeking to implement a green industrial revolution to decarbonise the economy. And in July 2018 the Moray MP voted to reduce financial support for former coal power stations running on biomass like wood or other plant material.


The National:

Ross has consistently voted against UK membership of the EU since being elected in 2017. The majority of his Moray constituents voted to Remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum.

Social issues:

Ross voted against permitting same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. In 2018 he also voted against retaining the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law after Brexit.

All of Ross’s voting record can be viewed via They Work For You.