Leader comment: Scottish World Cup dreams are shattered again

Following criticism, Conservative MP Douglas Ross has decided that he will no longer miss parliamentary duties because of his second job as a football referee.
Following criticism, Conservative MP Douglas Ross has decided that he will no longer miss parliamentary duties because of his second job as a football referee.
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So, once again, the World Cup dreams of Scotland – or rather one particular Scot – are shattered. But this was no glorious defeat, going out on goal difference in the group of death.

Instead, the newly elected Conservative MP Douglas Ross appears to have finally decided that abandoning his constituents in Moray and the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ to work as an assistant referee at next year’s tournament in Russia was going to be too controversial. It’s the right decision.

He got a taste of the furore that would have ensued when he decided to miss a parliamentary vote on the Universal Credit benefit – blamed for causing significant hardship to the country’s poorest – to hobnob with Lionel Messi and the rest as Barcelona hosted Olympiakos in a Champions League match.

His presence or absence in parliament may not have made any difference to the way benefits are paid, but it sent a powerful message to voters about his priorities. Other MPs have second jobs, but most of those have a degree of flexibility, enabling them to attend key votes and do the job they were elected to do.