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Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes says Douglas Ross is showing ‘his disdain for the Scottish Parliament’ while Jackie Baillie says ‘I wish Douglas Ross the best of luck in the future’

By Scott Maclennan

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MSP Douglas Ross.
MSP Douglas Ross.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes hit out at Douglas Ross over his decision to run for another Westminster seat despite already holding a Highlands and Island regional seat in Holyrood.

Earlier today after significant criticism including from within his own party Mr Ross confirmed he will stand down as leader of the Scottish Conservatives after the General Election. And if elected as an MP he will stand down as an MSP.

He has led the party in Scotland for more than three years saying it would not be “feasible” to continue in his role and would rather focus on serving his constituents.

If elected, Mr Ross would have been party leader, MP for Aberdeenshire North and MSP for the Highlands and Islands. He would have been covering a patch more than half the size of Scotland - 51 per cent of its landmass.

The move attracted widespread hostility in part because well-respected MP David Duguid was informed while he was recovering in hospital that he was effectively being booted out of his seat despite wishing to return to Westminster.

It also left many people questioning how he could possibly represent an area as large as the Highland and Islands electoral region and a new constituency in the north east of Scotland in two parliaments at the same time.

Speaking at a campaign event in Nairn, Ms Forbes slammed the development, which has contributed to throwing the Conservative Party’s general election campaign north of the border into complete disarray.

She told The Inverness Courier’s Federica Stefani that: “I think we have seen that Douglas Ross’ priority is very much Westminster and not Holyrood, I think his announcement today shows his disdain for the Scottish Parliament.

“And I think that the Conservatives have illustrated that at the end of the day their priority is not Holyrood and that Douglas Ross’ promises about focussing on Holyrood have all been found to be null and void.”

While the deputy leader of Scottish Labour Jackie Baillie said “I wish Douglas Ross the best of luck in the future. It’s clear that this divided and chaotic Tory party is out of time and out of ideas.

“Voters know that this rotten Tory government has nothing to offer Scotland – it’s no wonder Douglas Ross has given up on trying to resuscitate the Scottish Tories’ flailing campaign.

“After 14 years of Tory chaos and 17 years of SNP incompetence and scandal, Scotland is crying out for change. There is clearly only one party that can take on two failing governments and only one party that now represents change and it is Scottish Labour.

“On July 4, the way to make sure we boot the Tories out of government at last and deliver the change our country needs is by voting Scottish Labour.”

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