Ross named new Scottish Conservatives leader
Moray MP Douglas Ross has been confirmed as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives, having been the only candidate to put his name forward by the deadline of noon on Wednesday.
Having secured the leadership without being contested, he will replace Jackson Carlaw whose surprise resignation came last week after less than six months in the role.
When resigning, Carlaw had said that a “younger and fresher” voice was needed to push the case for keeping Scotland's place in the union and lead the Scottish Conservatives into next May’s Holyrood elections in its bid to prevent the SNP from forming another majority.
Former party leader Ruth Davidson, whom Carlaw initially succeeded, will stand in for Ross during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood until the Scottish Parliament elections take place, since Ross does not currently hold a seat at Holyrood. Davidson will then stand down from the Scottish Parliament at the next election to take up a seat in the House of Lords.
Ross will be hoping to secure a seat in the Scottish Parliament in 2021 where his party is currently the second-largest, but he is not planning to relinquish his seat in the House of Commons prior to the next UK general election.
He has held his Moray seat in the Commons since 2017, having previously been an MSP for the Highland and Islands region.
Ross tweeted that becoming leader was the “honour of a lifetime” and he was relishing the task of earning the trust of those who want a “positive and credible alternative” to independence for the nation of Scotland.
Despite being regarded as a close ally of the prime minister, Ross was an opponent of Brexit in the 2016 referendum on EU membership and resigned as a Scotland Office minister back in May over the Dominic Cummings controversy.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, Ross said: "As leader of the Scottish Conservatives I will not be a member of the government and I won't be part of collective responsibility.
"It is a fresh leadership for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and that's something I'm keen to get with my strong team that's in place and the stronger team we're going to have in place after the next election."
Ross also spoke out against a second referendum on Scottish independence during the interview.
He said: "We had that vote six years ago and we were told it was a once in a generation event. What I want to do is leave that in the past."