DOUGLAS Ross has dodged signing the Buffer Zones Bill proposal as a majority of MSPs backed the plan to bring in no-protest zones outside of abortion clinics.

On Thursday, Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay smashed through the threshold of signatures required to lodge her proposal at Holyrood within 30 minutes of FMQs ending.

By Friday evening, there were 56 signatures and 15 ministers who had given Buffer Zones their public backing.

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Every Holyrood party leader, excluding Ross, has shown support for safe access zones. This includes First Minister Humza Yousaf, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, as well as Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater.

In order for Mackay to lodge the bill, she needed it to be signed by 18 MSPs, but smashed through the target within 30 minutes of her proposals being published.

Mackay (below) said: “This has been an amazing show of unity from across our Parliament. I am grateful to every MSP who has taken the time to support me and to back the call for buffer zones.

The National: Scottish Green Party's Gillian Mackay arrives at the main chamber for First Minster's Questions

“To know that a majority of MSPs are behind this is really important. It underlines the urgency and the real and shared desire to finally stop the shocking protests we have seen and the targeted harassment of people who are accessing healthcare.

“It’s not often that our parliament unites so strongly around an issue, and I am looking forward to working across parties and across our Chamber to ensure that we deliver the strongest and most robust protections possible.

“Abortion rights are human rights and I am determined that we end the protests and ensure that nobody else is bullied or intimidated in this way. We have taken a big step closer to making it a reality.”

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However, Ross was the only party leader not so forthcoming with his support. Mackay had tried to call him over to sign his name in support of the proposal following FMQs in the Garden Lobby on Thursday.

The National understands that a total of nine Tory MSPs have signed the proposal as a show of support.

Ross was in the midst of answering questions from journalists over the Privileges Committee finding Boris Johnson had misled the House of Commons of partygate, and told Mackay he was “a bit busy at the moment”.

The pair are understood to have had a quick conversation following the press huddle in the Garden Lobby.

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “Douglas had a useful discussion with Gillian Mackay on Thursday during which they agreed that, while supportive of the principles behind the bill, he would wait until it is published in full and look at the detail proposed.

“This is the same approach other party leaders have taken with his Right to Recovery Bill.”