THE shameless carpet bagging of Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has cost him one of his jobs.

It seems clear that even his fellow Conservatives have had enough of his nasty, self-serving, and dishonourable behaviour.

Over the weekend The Sunday Mail carried a story, apparently leaked by disaffected Scottish Tories, alleging that Douglas Ross had misused Westminster expenses for the purposes of travelling to and from football grounds as part of his side-gig as an assistant referee.

Ross has denied any misuse of public funds.

However, the controversy over the way in which sitting MP David Duguid - currently recovering from a serious illness - was stabbed in the back by his supposed colleague refused to die down over the weekend.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross to resign as Scottish Tory leader after General Election

Duguid released a statement in which he claimed that not only did the Scottish Conservative selection panel not visit him to inform him that they were considering deselecting him, neither had they sought medical advice on his condition.

Duguid has denied that he is unfit for campaigning and made it clear that he did not wish to step down.

Ross had tried to claim that the decision was made by an 'independent' management board of the Scottish Conservatives, neglecting to mention that he is a member of that board.

Ross says that he recused himself from the board while members discussed a replacement for Duguid, but that doesn't wash at all.

He'd only recuse himself if he knew that the board was going to discuss him as the replacement and no doubt he'd made his desires abundantly clear beforehand.

Ross has questions to answer about his expenses claims and about his role in doing the dirty on David Duguid.

However, it's not just the questionable behaviour of Douglas Ross that deserves scrutiny here, it's also that of a state broadcaster which appears to have been handling him with kid gloves.

BBC Scotland kept the Matheson affair running for weeks by regularly giving a platform to the anti-independence parties to attack the SNP.

But with Douglas Ross knee-deep in an expenses scandal, BBC Scotland couldn't be less interested over the weekend.

Ross's alleged misuse of public money is arguably worse than Matheson's.

Not only did it allegedly take place in order to facilitate Ross pursuing his extra-parliamentary career and making money from that, it is also compounded by gross hypocrisy given the way in which Ross hounded Matheson over a cock-up.

READ MORE: Tory candidate set to replace Douglas Ross as MSP lives in London

What Ross is accused of having done appears very deliberate.

Yet in a report on the main UK lunchtime news on BBC1 about Ross's resignation as Scottish Tory leader, there was no mention at all about the scandal over his expenses.

The difference in the way that the two stories have been handled is stark and telling.

Ross has now bowed to the inevitable and announced that he is standing down as leader of the Scottish Tories after July 4.

He has also announced the bet-hedging proviso that if he wins the Commons seat for which he so shamelessly stabbed David Duguid in the back, he will stand down as an MSP.

When a party leader announces their resignation in the middle of an election campaign, you know something has gone very wrong indeed.

David Duguid said he was prepared to stand as a candidate in the General ElectionDavid Duguid said he was prepared to stand as a candidate in the General Election (Image: House of Commons)

The wheels haven't just come off Rishi Sunak's campaign, they've come off Douglas Ross's as well.

Both of them are victims of their own arrogance and hubris.

Ross angered his colleagues by U-turning on his previous promise to stand down from Westminster at this election in order to focus on Holyrood.

With the underhand, duplicitous, and downright nasty way in which he got rid of an ill colleague in order to get himself a seat which he had a better chance of winning, he has jeopardised the Conservatives' chances in a seat which they had high hopes of hanging onto.

Conservative voters in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency are being asked to put their faith in a man who has two other jobs and who has knifed a colleague in the back at least twice - first when he ousted Jackson Carlaw to get the position of Scottish Tory leader, and again when he ousted David Duguid as the Conservative candidate.

Both episodes speak volumes about the character of Douglas Ross, none of it good.

READ MORE: Which Tory MSPs are in the running to replace Douglas Ross?

A man who does not hesitate to betray those who are supposedly his friends and colleagues will not think twice about betraying the interests of his constituents.

The question of Ross's personal character is now central to the local campaign.

The fury within the party led someone with knowledge of Ross's expense claims to leak highly damaging information to the press.

It is clear that he has lost the confidence of his own party, and he had to go.

But Ross's resignation as party leader and promise to step down as an MSP if - and only if - he secures himself a seat in the Commons is not good enough.

He should resign as an MSP immediately.

After all, that’s exactly what he is demanding Michael Matheson must do.

He cannot hold others to higher standards than those he is prepared to hold himself to.

Matheson made a one-off mistake for which he has paid dearly.

Ross has allegedly abused his expenses on repeated occasions.

Anas Sarwar blames Tories for Scots voting Yes in 2014

Meanwhile, back in the Labour party's Scottish branch office, Anas Sarwar has claimed that he knows why people voted Yes in the independence referendum in 2014.

Apparently it was because we were in despair about the prospect that there might never be another Labour government in Westminster. Well, who knew?

And there was me thinking it was because we knew that there would inevitably be another Labour government in Westminster and that that Labour government would only get elected by aping Tory policies and refusing to implement any meaningful reform of the undemocratic and sclerotic Westminster Parliament.

That is exactly what is happening with Keir Starmer's Toryfied Labour party.

The prospect of a Keir Starmer government is not a reason for new found hope in Westminster; it's a reason to confirm the fears of independence supporters that real change and reform is impossible under Westminster.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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