THE SNP have upgraded the seat Douglas Ross is standing in to a “tier one” target after the Scottish Tory leader resigned in the middle of the campaign.

Ross added to Tory woes on the General Election campaign so far when he said he would run in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat, blocking David Duguid from doing so.

The former Scotland Office minister was fired as the Tory candidate while in hospital, with Ross stepping in to replace him.

READ MORE: Westminster standards body dismisses Douglas Ross expenses complaint

He then later announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of the Scottish Tories after the General Election and said he would stand down as an MSP should he become an MP.

According to the Daily Record, an SNP source said the seat had been upgraded from a “tier two” target after the resignation row.

Meanwhile, the body charged with overseeing MPs’ expenses also dismissed complaints made against Ross after he was accused of using them improperly to travel to this third job as an assistant referee.

The Record reports that the SNP will pour extra resources into the seat and SNP candidate Seamus Logan will benefit from more activists and campaign materials.

(Image: PA)

First Minister John Swinney (above) is expected to campaign for Logan on Sunday in a direct challenge to Ross.

SNP MSP Keith Brown said: “Douglas Ross thinks he can treat the electorate with contempt. He has betrayed a colleague, faced serious questions over his expenses and now wants to treat his election as a publicly funded lifeboat from his sinking ship of a career.

“Well, all he has done is made us more determined than ever to take the SNP’s message to the people of Aberdeenshire North & Moray East. We are going to dog his footsteps all the way to July 4.

“The SNP is the main challenger in every Tory seat in Scotland – and in many SNP seats the Tories are in second place so voting for other parties risks letting the Tories in.

“On July 4, vote SNP to get rid of the Tory government and put Scotland’s interests first.”

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Tories said: “Voters in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East already knew this seat would be a close fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP.

"If voters in this constituency unite around Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives on July 4th they can beat the SNP, end their independence obsession for good and get the focus onto their real priorities like creating good jobs and standing up for rural interests."