Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross in job ‘sleaze’ rowon November 13, 2021 at 12:17 am

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Douglas Ross failed to declare earnings as an MSP and as a football referee for the SFA.

Douglas Ross

Image source, PA Media

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has reported himself over undeclared earnings while serving as an MP.

Douglas Ross has apologised for failing to fully record his MSP salary and earnings as a football referee in his register of interests at Westminster.

This included £6,700 for work as a match official for the Scottish Football Association.

He has now referred himself to the parliamentary standards watchdog.

The SNP said the Conservative MSP was “knee-deep in the Tory sleaze scandal”.

In a statement, first reported in The Herald newspaper, Mr Ross said all his earnings had now been declared after what he described as an “error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened”.

He said: “This was an error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened, and I apologise for not registering these payments on time.

“Since realising my mistake last week, I contacted the Office of the Register of Interests and made them aware of the situation. All payments have now been declared, including those from my MSP salary that are donated to charities.”

The paper says he failed to declare £28,218.57 in outside earnings from his second job as an MSP and third job as a football referee.

The undeclared income included £6,728.57 from 16 football matches in 2021 and 2020, and £21,490 in a top-up salary from his role as an MSP.

Douglas Ross

Image source, Getty Images

Some of the Moray charities which have benefited from Mr Ross’ salary are the RLNI in Buckie, Kieran’s Legacy, Riding for the Disabled, Moray Women’s Aid and Shop Mobility Moray.

Mr Ross has been injured since January and has not officiated any professional games since then.

The SNP accused the opposition MSP of scoring an own goal.

SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsten Oswald MP said: “Triple-jobbing Douglas Ross is knee-deep in the Tory sleaze scandal. The rule-breaking Scottish Tory leader must shift his attention from maximising his outside earnings – and start focusing on his role as an MSP, which is supposed to be a full-time job.

“Failing to declare thousands of pounds from multiple side hustles is a clear breach of the rules – but the bigger concern is that Mr Ross isn’t doing the day job. He’s missed crucial votes, including on Tory universal credit cuts, to rake in extra cash running the line at football matches.

“It’s time to blow the whistle on Tory sleaze. People in Scotland deserve better than this – and Mr Ross must finally decide whether he wants to be an MP, MSP or full time referee.”

Earlier this week Mr Ross backed a review of second jobs for MPs and said parliamentarians should not be allowed to take money from companies that might benefit from decisions made in parliament.

However, he said other cases should be judged on their individual merits and argued that it can be “very useful” to have a voice in two parliaments.

Mr Ross, who is a list MSP for the Highlands and Islands as well as an MP for Moray, promised to only accept one salary if elected to Holyrood in the Scottish parliamentary election.

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