DOUGLAS Ross has announced he will stand down as leader of the Scottish Conservatives after the General Election.

In a statement released on Monday morning, he also confirmed he will stand down as an MSP should he win the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat at Westminster

We told last week how Ross had U-turned on his previous position not to stand as an MP.

In a statement, he said: "I have served as MP, MSP and leader for over three years now and believed I could continue to do so if re-elected to Westminster, but on reflection, that is not feasible. 

"I am committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency. Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention. 

"I will therefore stand down as leader following the election on July 4, once a successor is elected. Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood

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"My party has a chance to beat the SNP in key seats up and down Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

"We must now come together and fully focus on doing exactly that."

Ross is standing as an MP after former Scotland Office minister David Duguid was blocked to make way for the Scottish Tory leader. 

Ross said the decision was taken by the Scottish Conservatives' management board - on which he sits - on health grounds.

Following the news, Duguid said it had been reported that he was "unable to stand" but that this was not the case. 

He has been recovering in hospital from serious health difficulties involving his spine and pneumonia.