Separate by-election after May could cost taxpayers £175,000.
Moray MP Douglas Ross (pictured) is being urged to resign his Westminster seat in time to hold a by-election on the same day as the Holyrood elections.
Ross hopes to return to Holyrood in May’s elections after being placed top of the Tories’ Highlands and Islands Regional List.
His decision not to contest a constituency seat is highly irregular for a Tory party leader.
His MSP counterpart in Moray, the SNP’s Richard Lochhead, claims it is untenable for Ross to continue as an MP once elected an MSP given the big issues facing the people of Moray and that Mr Ross can’t be in four places at once.
As it stands, the Scottish Tory leader plans to hold four jobs – as an MSP, an MP, the leader of Boris Johnson’s Tories in Scotland and a football linesman.
A separate by-election held after May’s election would cost the public purse an estimated £175,000.
Ross is being urged to follow the lead of SNP candidate Neil Gray, who is standing down as the MP for Airdrie and Shotts before the Holyrood election.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead said:
“I am urging Douglas Ross to resign from the UK Parliament to allow a by-election to take place on the same day as the Scottish Parliament elections.
“This will ensure Moray can have a full-time voice in Westminster and potentially save the taxpayer an estimated £175,000.
“The talk is that Mr Ross is only standing on the list so when his party flops at May’s election he can be more easily replaced as a list MSP, letting him scuttle off back to Westminster as an MP.
“He can’t possibly be in both Holyrood and Westminster at the same time and he is already notorious for struggling to balance all his current responsibilities as an SFA linesman, MP and party leader.
“Now he wants to add MSP to the list of jobs.
“Many of his constituents are struggling and as the country looks to recover from the pandemic, Douglas Ross needs to put his full focus into being either an MSP or an MP.
“The days of dual mandates should be consigned to history.
“The Scottish Parliament has more powers than before and has much to do to help Scotland recover from a pandemic and fall out from Brexit.
“Being an MSP is already a demanding full-time job – never mind being a party leader at the same time – and so is being an MP.
“Any MSP will tell you that their current workload has never been bigger due to the pandemic.
“Neil Gray, MP for Airdrie and Shotts, is resigning his seat in time to have the by-election on 6th May.
“Mr Ross’s own Tory colleague John Lamont resigned his Holyrood seat in 2017 to have the by-election on the same day at the UK elections that year.
“Douglas Ross needs to follow their example for the sake of Moray.”