Tory justice spokesman should be given ‘straight red card’ after putting refereeing duties before Holyrood

Douglas Ross

Tory leader Ruth Davidson has received calls to sack the party’s justice spokesman after he put his second job as a referee ahead of his responsibilities at Holyrood.

Douglas Ross, 34, earns up to £40,000 a year as a sports professional and was in Portugal this week acting as an assistant referee at the Champions League match between Sporting Lisbon and Real Madrid.

As a result of the trip he missed a meeting of the Justice Committee on its ongoing inquiry into the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

He also missed a committee meeting in his capacity as a councillor in Moray – his third job.

In September he went on a five-day SFA course on World Cup refereeing and missed a Justice Committee chamber vote on local taxation.

Ben Macpherson, an SNP MSP, called on Ms Davidson to sack Mr Ross as justice spokesman and for him to resign from the Justice Committee.

He said: “The arrogance and blatant disrespect of ‘three jobs’ Douglas Ross is staggering.

“Last time the whistle was blown on one of his refereeing junkets the Tories claimed it was just a ‘one off’. But he’s at it again – and this time it should be a straight red card.

“Obviously he values his £40k-a-year weekend job – and all-expenses paid trips to Lisbon and other European cities – more than his responsibilities as an MSP and local councillor.

A Conservative spokesman said: “Perhaps the SNP should look closer to home when it comes to sackings.

“Earlier this year Ben Macpherson asked Douglas to speak to kindly clubs in his constituency about refereeing – presumably this invitation has now been rescinded.”