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Douglas Ross to be new Scottish Tory leader after ex-minister runs to replace Jackson Carlaw unopposed

Douglas Ross to be new Scottish Tory leader after ex-minister runs to replace Jackson Carlaw unopposed

Douglas Ross has been elected to run the Scottish Conservatives unopposed after getting the backing of former leader Ruth Davidson (PA)

3 min read

Douglas Ross is set to be confirmed as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives after nobody else ran against him.

The former minister will take over after standing unopposed following the unexpected resingation of from Jackson Carlaw following just five months at the helm.

A qualified football referee, 37-year-old Mr Ross has been the MP for Moray since 2017, and previously represented the Highland and Islands region in the Scottish Parliament.

He came to prominence after being criticised for missing a vote on Universal Credit to run the line at a Champions League match just months after he was first elected.

Mr Ross was appointed a junior minister in the Scottish office after last December’s general election, but stepped down in May after the row over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown breach.

After nominations closed at 12pm on Wednesday with no other candidates getting the backing of 100 members to stand against him, his election was confirmed.

"Becoming leader of the Scottish Conservatives today is the honour and privilege of a lifetime,” he tweeted.

"Now our focus must turn to earning the trust of people looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland, and who want a fresh start for our country. I hope you'll join us.”

Mr Ross’ campaign was backed by the popular former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson, as well as ex-Scottish Secretary David Mundell and current depute leaders Annie Wells and Liam Kerr.

He is now expected to be found a safe seat for the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021 so he can leave Westminster and return to Holyrood.

But in the meantime Ms Davidson will stand in for him at First Minister’s Questions against Nicola Sturgeon until next year, when she will step down to take up a position in the House of Lords.

In response to his election the SNP's depute leader Keith Brown called him “Boris Johnson's man in Scotland”, despite Mr Ross resigning from the Prime Minister’s government over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Brown said: “Westminster has launched a total takeover of the Scottish Tories and installed a Brexit-backing MP to act as a puppet for Downing Street.

"As his Westminster voting record proves, Mr Ross couldn't be more out of touch with Scotland. 

“His offensive comments on gypsy-travellers were appalling and he has rubber-stamped every damaging decision on an extreme Brexit, a power grab on the Scottish Parliament and deep austerity cuts to public services - despite the harm to our communities.”

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