SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross has denied he believes Westminster is more important than Holyrood during a clash with a BBC presenter.

The Highlands and Islands MSP announced his intention to stand down as his party’s leader and denied claims his colleagues had forced him to do so.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Ross was grilled by host Laura Maxwell on his “job insurance” scheme in which he will only stand down as an MSP should he not win the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat in the upcoming General Election.

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The host put it to Ross that he believed Westminster was more important than Holyrood and asked why he wouldn’t stand down as an MSP right now.

“Well I’m absolutely not saying that Laura, that may be your impression, that is not my impression,” he said.

“The two parliaments deal with very different things.”

Maxwell said that Ross would presumably stay on at Holyrood were he not to win a seat at the upcoming election and said he had created a “little job insurance scheme”.

Ross replied: “No it’s not, it’s because I’ve been in representative politics since 2007. I’ve always sought to represent the constituents who look for that form of representation to raise the issues in either the UK Parliament or the Scottish Parliament.

“And as I say I will be continuing to do that throughout my time as an elected representative, bringing forward cases where people are struggling, where they need help and support and raising issues in parliament for the concerns that people have both locally and nationally.”

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Asked if he could realistically stay in Holyrood if he was only there because he did not win a seat at Westminster, Ross said: "The backbenches at Holyrood have a number of former leaders on them."

He added that some of those former leaders “make more contribution than others”.

Asked directly if his Holyrood colleagues has asked him to stand down, Ross said this was not the case.

He also refused to say who he would back to replace him as the party’s leader.