'Sleaze' accusations grow as Scottish Tory leader fails to declare £28k from extra jobs

13 November 2021, 11:18 | Updated: 13 November 2021, 12:20

Douglas Ross has come under fire for outside earnings
Douglas Ross has come under fire for outside earnings. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

More allegations of "Tory sleaze" have been levied after the Scottish Conservatives leader reportedly failed to declare £28,000 in earnings from non-MP jobs.

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Douglas Ross was accused of being "knee-deep" in the "scandal" as The Herald said he failed to report earnings from two other jobs.

He has been forced to refer himself to Parliament's Standards Commissioner.

The Herald said his income of £28,218 came from his second job as a Member of the Scottish Parliament and his third job as a football referee.

£6,728.57 came from 16 football matches in 2021 and 2020, and £21,490 came from his MSP top up salary.

The SNP said he had missed a number of votes, events and parliamentary meetings in Westminster and Holyrood to earn thousands of pounds from his other interest.

SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald MP said: "The rule-breaking Scottish Tory leader must shift his attention from maximising his outside earnings and start focusing on his role as an MSP, which is supposed to be a full-time job.

"Failing to declare thousands of pounds from multiple side hustles is a clear breach of the rules but the bigger concern is that Mr Ross isn't doing the day job.

"He's missed crucial votes, including on Tory universal credit cuts, to rake in extra cash running the line at football matches.

"It is 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.

"By desperately clinging onto his Westminster seat, Mr Ross has scored an own goal.

"Voters are not impressed, and people will rightly question whether he's doing it to make more money or because he's secretly planning to quit as an MSP when he is inevitably replaced as Scottish Tory leader."

Mr Ross told The Herald: "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."

The accusations follow scrutiny on other jobs run by Owen Paterson, who resigned after breaching lobbying rules, and Geoffrey Cox, who is not considered to have broken rules but made large sums of money advising the British Virgin Islands amid a Foreign Office probe.

A poll on Saturday showed Labour in a six-point leader over the Tories in the wake of the scandal.