DOUGLAS Ross has said the Scottish Conservatives will release their party membership numbers when they next have a leadership election.

The Scottish Tory leader is facing pressure to reveal the size of his party – amid accusations his calls for transparency from the SNP amount to double standards.

Challenged on the figures by Reporting Border’s Peter MacMahon, Ross dodged repeated questions about the size of the party, arguing the police investigation into the SNP’s finances was a different matter.

MacMahon said: “You’ve made a great deal of political capital out of political capital out of on what you say is a lack of transparency within the SNP yet you will not say, even annually, how many members you have. What message does that give to voters?”

Ross replied: “I think there’s quite a difference between the investigation that is ongoing into SNP finances, the arrests that have been made, the police investigation and the membership numbers of my party.”

READ MORE: Scottish Conservatives refuse to release membership figures

Asked whether the “principle” meant he should make public the true size of the Scottish Conservatives, MacMahon added: “You called for the SNP to say how many members they had.”

Ross said: “Yeah, because they were lying, to you and other journalists and the public about that.”

He added: “We always announce them during a leadership election. The problem for the SNP is when they were asked about it, they lied. They lied to the public and the press.

"One of their most senior press officers resigned because he was so uncomfortable with what he’d been asked to do about lying to the media and others about it.

"We’ll release our figures when there’s a leadership election but when we do that, whenever we do that, we will be honest and upfront.

"We will never lie to the media, I think that’s the most important thing.”

The last contested Scottish Tory leadership election – Ross was elected unopposed – was in February 2020.

Jackson Carlaw was elected with 4,917 votes to his rival Michelle Ballantyne’s 1,581.

There have been reports some of Ross’s MSPs are unhappy with his leadership – though party sources have previously denied the possibility of him being ousted, saying internal rules made it nearly impossible to force him out.