Douglas Ross apologises for ‘error on my behalf’
The Scottish Conservatives leader has referred himself to parliament’s “sleaze” watchdog for failing to fully record his MSP salary and all his outside earnings as a football referee.
Douglas Ross has apologised after it emerged that he had not declared £28,000-worth of earnings on his register of interests at Westminster.
The Moray MP – who also became an MSP following the Scottish elections in May – has reported his mistake to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards office.
In a statement Mr Ross said: “This was an error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened, and I apologise for not registering these payments on time.”
He added: “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.”
Mr Ross’s undeclared earnings included just over £6,700 for his work as a match official for the Scottish Football Association (SFA), according to The Herald, which first reported his failure to record financial interests.
The Scottish Tory leader is also said to have failed to declare just over £21,000 in earnings from his job as an MSP.
The SNP accused the leading Tory of missing crucial votes to “rake in” extra cash as a match official. “Triple-jobbing Douglas Ross is knee-deep in the Tory sleaze scandal,” said the party’s Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald.
She added: “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.”
Boris Johnson’s government remains mired in sleaze claims following the botched attempt to rip up the current Commons standards system to save former Tory cabinet minister Owen Paterson from suspension.
Revelations about outside earnings – and questions about the former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox voting by proxy while offering legal services in the Caribbean – appeared to have badly damaged the Tory party in the polls.
A poll by Savanta ComRes for the Daily Mail put Labour six points ahead of the Tories. And a separate YouGov poll found that two-thirds consider the governing party “very sleazy” amid the flurry of negative headlines.