'I'm very confident': Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross says he did not breach MP expenses rules

'I am very confident that there is no breach,' Douglas Ross told ITV News, when asked about expenses he claimed as an MP

The Scottish Conservative leader says he's comfortable his expenses claimed for his time as an MP are legitimate.

Douglas Ross represented Moray at Westminster, but has faced accusations that he may have claimed expenses to facilitate travel to his third job as a football linesman.

Under scrutiny are expenses including plane journeys from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh, despite Aberdeen or Inverness airports being the closest to his constituency.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Ross said: "I am very confident that my expenses that I have claimed have been to fulfill my role as a Member of Parliament and to get to and from Westminster.

"I am very confident that there is no breach, that I have not claimed anything that I should not have claimed, and it's right that the independent body IPSA who oversee parliamentary pay and expenses look at this if they wish, scrutinise my claims and I am very comfortable with claims I made."

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When asked if he had double checked all of his expenses, he would only answer: "I am very comfortable with the claims."

The Scottish Conservative leader announced on Monday he would step down from the leadership role in Holyrood.

It follows his decision to contest the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat at the General Election, despite previously saying he would step down as an MP to focus on his role at Holyrood.

Having previously served as an MSP, MP and Scottish leader of the party Mr Ross said: "I did think it was possible, but I've also reflected and listened to concerns from colleagues and others who have said that it's not suitable, in particular in the run up to the 2026 Scottish Parliament election.

"I think it's right that leader is based in Holyrood and has that as their focus, and I look forward to supporting the leader."

Mr Ross is also facing criticism for deciding to stand in the seat of former Scotland Office minister David Duguid, who was told by the party's management board he could not stand due to ill health.

Mr Ross said he has offered to speak on the phone to Mr Duguid, but communication has so far been via text message at the latter's request.

Mr Ross further confirmed he would quit as a Highlands and Islands MSP only if he won the Westminster seat.

ITV News asked whether it was right to use his role as an MSP as a back up plan, to which Mr Ross said: "I am focused on winning Aberdeenshire North and South East because it's one of the key seats across the country, but it's a straight choice between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP."

Meanwhile, the SNP's Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, said that Mr Ross' decision to quit as Scottish Conservative leader after polling day on July 4 was the "icing on the cake" for the party.

Campaigning in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Mr Flynn said: "The Tories are toast and this past week has confirmed it - their campaign has been a complete disaster and the Douglas Ross saga puts the icing on the cake."

He added: "In every Conservative held seat in Scotland, it's the SNP who stand ready to boot them out, and in seats like West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine voters have the chance to do exactly that."

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