The National:

IF you caught Question Time without knowing anything about politics last night, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kate Forbes was a party leader – not Douglas Ross.

The Scottish Tory boss was completely shown up by the Finance Secretary after making ill-informed demands for extra business funding.  

Forbes said it was “ludicrous” that furlough is ending as coronavirus cases and restrictions are increasing – she stressed that the Scottish Government had needed to hear the Chancellor’s announcement on the replacement scheme last week before confirming financial support for businesses affected by new Covid rules.

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Ross questioned why the support announced totalled £40m after the £700m package confirmed by Rishi Sunak.

The Finance Secretary told him: “You do appreciate that’s for health? It’s not just for business support.”

Ross insisted that the cash was for the £3000 grants the UK Government is giving to businesses in England – demanding: “Give them that £700m you’ve got from the Chancellor.”

Forbes laughed as Ross kept talking over her before explaining the situation.

“The two points I would make is one – small grants of £1500 is no replacement for the furlough scheme. That’s point number one. Point number two is that £700m, worth asking the Chancellor, that does not just cover business support.

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“That’s for health, that’s for transport, and a whole host of other things. Just for clarity. The third point is the business support we’ve put in place is more generous than the UK Government support.”

As Ross insisted it wasn’t, Forbes told him: “The facts are there.”

She went on: “In the rest of the UK if you are obliged by law to close you’ll get a grant. But all the businesses in the supply chain won’t get funding and other businesses that are not directly impacted won’t get funding.

The National:

“In Scotland we’ve required funding for the businesses required by law but also the businesses in the supply chain – businesses that might see reduced trading but aren’t required to close by law.

“And I think that’s the breadth of support that we need to see. But let’s not kid ourselves - £1500 of grant, as important as it is, is no replacement for the furlough scheme.”

The Moray MP was expected to speak on behalf of his Westminster bosses on several occasions throughout the BBC programme, presenting him in a different light to the “rebellious” look he attempted to craft for himself earlier this week.

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Ross voted against the Government on an Agriculture Bill amendment while the rest of his MPs supported it. The move came weeks on from his Tory conference speech in which he took aim at his London bosses for increasing support for independence.

His carefully crafted “standing up for Scotland” performance fell apart at the seams as he was questioned about the UK Government’s reliance on the private sector for its coronavirus response, the end of the furlough scheme and growing Yes support.