Who is Douglas Ross? Scottish Tory leader called "lightweight figure" after calling on PM to resign

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, has attacked Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross after he called for Boris Johnson to step down as Prime Minister.

Rees-Mogg spoke to BBC Newsnight yesterday (January 12) and described Ross as a “lightweight figure”. Earlier in the day, Ross had said Johnson’s position as Prime Minister was “no longer tenable” after Johnson admitted to attending a rule-breaking Downing Street party.

Michael Gove also rejected Ross’ intervention. But who exactly is Douglas Ross?

READ MORE: Who will be Prime Minister if Boris Johnson resigns – and who will be the next Tory leader?

Who is Douglas Ross?

Douglas Ross is a Conservative Party politician and football referee. He has been leader of the Scottish Conservatives since August 2020.

Born in Aberdeen in 1983, Ross is a Member of both Westminster and Scottish Parliaments. He was elected to the House of Commons as a Tory MP for Moray in 2017 before also being elected to Holyrood as MSP for the Highlands and Islands in 2021.

There’s no rule preventing politicians from being Members of both the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament at the same time, so Ross is allowed to fill both roles.

In a 2017 interview, Ross was asked what he would do if he were prime minister for a day without repercussions. He replied that he wanted “tougher enforcement of gypsy travelers”, which was heavily criticized by Amnesty International, among others.

Ross was re-elected to his Westminster seat by a reduced majority in 2019 and succeeded Ruth Davidson as leader of the Scottish Conservatives the following year.

Is Douglas Ross still a referee?

Douglas Ross is a qualified assistant referee at the highest level in football. Since entering politics, he has continued to officiate football matches, although he has reduced the number of games he is involved in.

Ross’ sideline as a football official has sparked some controversy. He was criticized by both the SNP and Labor for missing a parliamentary debate on Universal Credit in 2017 due to his refereeing duties.

In August 2020, Ross apologized for missing a VJ Day event because he had already agreed to officiate a Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and St Johnstone.

Ross referred himself to Westminster’s parliamentary watchdog in November 2021 after it was revealed he had failed to record his earnings – around £28,000 – as an assistant referee in his interest registers. Then he apologized.

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