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Douglas Ross hits back at claims of ‘dodgy’ travel expenses for football job



The allegations were published amid an intense briefing campaign against Mr Ross from within the Scottish Tories, despite the looming general election.

There has been a fierce backlash against the party’s decision to deselect David Duguid, a former minister, as its candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East and install Mr Ross instead.

Mr Duguid has vehemently denied the Tories’ claim that he was too ill to fight the seat after being hospitalised for weeks with a serious spinal condition.

The party has insisted that Mr Ross played no part in the decision, but he had previously pledged to stand down from Westminster at the election.

But party insiders have accused Mr Ross of treating Mr Duguid “absolutely appallingly” and claimed the move raised questions about his commitment to Holyrood and the Scottish Tory leadership.

The SNP increased the pressure on Mr Ross by demanding that he make a “personal statement” at Holyrood to answer questions about his use of MPs’ expenses “to facilitate” his work as a linesman.

Mr Ross said: “I have only ever claimed expenses related to my role as a Member of Parliament and the costs of getting me to and from Westminster. These have all been agreed by IPSA, the independent body that oversees MPs expenses, but I would have no issue with them being scrutinised again.”

The Sunday Mail reported that he made a £58 claim for parking at Inverness airport in July 2018, while Parliament was in recess, and another for £43 of rail travel from Heathrow to central London the day after he refereed a match in Iceland.

In October 2019, he claimed for a flight from London to Glasgow and for £109 parking with NCP car parks. On Nov 1 2020, he claimed £48.99 for parking the day he refereed a Celtic game.

A Tory insider told the paper his team discussed the travel claims when contacted by journalists, but hoped nobody would pick them up.

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