Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has been challenged to answer five key questions that remain unanswered three weeks on from revelations that he “forgot” to declare almost £30,000 in earnings from his second and third jobs.
On behalf of Ross’s constituents and the people of Scotland, the SNP are calling on him to provide clear and unequivocal answers to the following:
Question 1: Douglas Ross has referred himself and is now being investigated by the Westminster parliamentary standards watchdog but will he also refer himself for an equivalent investigation at the Scottish parliament?
Question 2: Can Douglas Ross categorically confirm there are no further outstanding earnings he has mislaid or “forgotten” to declare to the authorities at either Westminster or Holyrood.
Question 3: If Douglas Ross is found to have breached the rules governing MPs’ and MSPs’ behaviour will he resign, as he has consistently insisted that others should?
Question 4: In light of his recent U-turn over the use of drug consumption rooms in Scotland, what benefit does Douglas Ross believe his dual role as an MP delivers for his constituents when his opinion as leader of the Scottish Conservatives and his attendance at Westminster apparently carries no weight with his Government colleagues, who continue to block such an important measure in combating the drugs death issue?
Question 5: SNP Members of the Scottish Parliament must sign Standing Orders that state that MSPs will “Treat their position as a full-time commitment with an attendance and work rate commensurate with that status.” What commitments do Tory Parliamentarians have to make and, given he has previously missed important committee meetings and votes to undertake his other jobs, does Douglas Ross meet the standard required of SNP MSPs?
Commenting SNP MSP Rona Mackay said:
“We are now more than three weeks on from the bombshell revelations that Douglas Ross ‘forgot’ to declare almost £30,000 in earnings – more than a whole year’s pay for the average Scot.
“We have since learned that while his memory failed him over money coming in, miraculously he kept track of money going out so he could claim back expenses from the public purse.
“There is still a substantial number of outstanding issues that Douglas Ross has failed to address with any degree of transparency and clarity.
“The voters he is supposed to represent deserve answers.
“As it stands, he is brazenly insulting them by claiming he forgot almost £30,000 while cruelly supporting the punishment of some of his own struggling constituents by cutting crucial benefits like the £20 Universal Credit lifeline.
“If a hard-pressed mum misses an appointment with the DWP, despite presenting legitimate reasons for absence, they face instant and punitive sanctions that plunge entire families deeper into poverty.
“Douglas Ross and his corrupt Tory cronies clearly hold these families to a higher standard than they apply to themselves.
“After more than three weeks to reflect, during which time a series of other revelations about his financial affairs have come out of the woodwork, it’s way past time for Douglas Ross to front up and provide clear answers to the outstanding questions over his conduct.
“The people of Scotland deserve no less.”