SNP criticise Tory MSP for missing another Holyrood meeting

Douglas Ross, a Highlands list SNP, is hoping to win the Moray constituency at next month's general election for the Tories. Picture: SNS
Douglas Ross, a Highlands list SNP, is hoping to win the Moray constituency at next month's general election for the Tories. Picture: SNS
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A Tory MSP hoping to unseat Angus Robertson at next month’s general election has been criticised by the SNP for missing another meeting of Holyrood’s justice committee.

Douglas Ross, the Conservative candidate for Moray, previously faced calls to resign his committee membership after he failed to attend a meeting at the Scottish Parliament as it clashed with his part-time role as a FIFA-registered match official.

The 34-year-old, who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, has been refereeing football matches for 14 years.

He missed a parliamentary committee in October to run the line at a Champions League match in Portugal.

A Conservative spokesman said Ross did not attend today’s justice committee meeting as he was attending to constituency business in the Highlands.

Ross has said he is now turning down match appointments - but refuses to quit his refereeing career entirely.

“I think it would be wrong that just because you’re in elected office you should have to give up something you’re very passionate about and you enjoy,” he said in an interview.

But Angus Robertson, the SNP candidate for Moray, said Ross had “yet again been exposed for his part-time commitment”.

He added: “Just last week Mr Ross was complaining that ‘negative publicity’ was stopping him from taking free trips all over Europe during work time.

“It’s clear where the Tory candidate’s priorities lie and it’s certainly not with the people of Moray.

“This election is a choice between my full-time commitment to my elected responsibilities, or a Tory who treats being a parliamentarian as a part time job.”

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Douglas was unable to attend the committee meeting because he had a constituency engagement this morning in his capacity as a Highlands and Islands MSP.”