Douglas Ross is a man known for not being able to make up his mind. In January 2022, Ross called on Boris Johnson to resign because of what became known as Partygate. Then in March he withdrew the call. In May he said Johnson should resign, but only after the war in Ukraine had come to an end. 

This vignette perfectly encapsulates the political character of Ross who has just announced that, if he is successful in winning a seat in the general election, he will stand down as leader of the Scottish Tories. 

At the time of publication, he is saying he will retain his seat as an MSP in Holyrood despite standing down as Scottish Tory leader. It is an unusual election tactic, to say the least: “Vote for my party, although if I get what I want then I can’t tell you who will lead it. If I’m embittered in defeat, then I will happily lead us to glory!” Now that is hedging your bets. 

Ross’s announcement follows a couple of recent scandals. First, he was criticised for replacing David Duguid, who had recently been in hospital for spinal surgery, in the new Aberdeenshire North & Moray East constituency. The Conservative party and Ross both insist that he played no part in Duguid’s removal. However, Duguid was not best pleased, saying that he had been up for the fight despite his recent health problems. 

Then Ross was accused of using his MP expenses for journeys made in relation to his third job as a football linesman. Scottish first minister John Swinney, whom Ross recently called “Not-so-honest John” in Holyrood, said that Ross must be transparent about any irregularities. 

Swinney said: “Douglas Ross is normally the first to be out of the stables demanding that everybody sets out all of the information, so I think Mr Ross should do that right away because the story raises very significant and serious issues of the potential misuse of public funds.”

The Tories are set to launch their manifesto on Tuesday at a location that suggests speed and efficiency, hoping to gain support for their policies by association. It is rumoured it will be at a Formula One track. After the D-Day disaster from Sunak and political aides interrupting live interviews out of fear of the tough questions, some are suggesting the wheels are coming off. 

With Ross’s announcement, the bus has hit another pothole.

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