Tory MSP slammed for missing Holyrood vote for Zurich trip

A Conservative MSP who also referees senior football games has come under fire for missing a crunch Holyrood vote in order to attend a Fifa refereeing conference in Switzerland.

Douglas Ross missed a Justice Committee meeting as well as the crucial vote. Picture: SNS Group

Highlands and Island MSP Douglas Ross missed the key vote on reform of the council tax on Thursday. The Scottish Government eventually escaped defeat by one vote after a mix-up involving Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s ballot.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Ross, who was assistant referee at the recent Old Firm derby, was attending a Zurich seminar for referees pre-selected for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

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A Tory spokesman said: “He made efforts to get back to the parliament in time but was unable to do so. He has apologised unreservedly to the Chief Whip who, in turn, has made it clear that his failure to attend must not be repeated in future.”

A spokesman for the SNP said: “This is a complete own goal for Ruth Davidson, who’ll be tempted to give Douglas Ross the hairdryer treatment when he comes back from his Swiss misadventure.

Mr Ross, who is the Tory justice spokesperson, was also absent from a Justice Committee meeting on Thursday.

His register of interests at the Scottish Parliament states that he will earn up to £40,000 as an assistant referee.