Scotland politics

Douglas Ross promises economy plan 'in first month'

Douglas Ross Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Douglas Ross announced his candidacy as leader of the Scottish Conservatives on Friday.

Douglas Ross has promised a plan for the economy in the first month of his leadership of the Scottish Conservatives if he is elected.

The Moray MP said the plan would be needed to tackle "the worst recession that this country faces".

Mr Ross has plans to contest a seat at the next Holyrood election in May 2021 if he is appointed leader of the party.

Jackson Carlaw resigned as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives on Thursday.

Mr Ross announced his candidacy the following day.

Ruth Davidson, who resigned as the Scottish Tory leader last August, would also be poised for a return to frontline politics as Mr Ross hopes she will front the party at First Minister's Questions until then.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Ross criticised the Scottish government for "ignoring economic concerns that are on the horizon" from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Ross said: "It's 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.

"People in work and out of work are struggling, and that's why today I'm focusing on the economy."

The MP told BBC Scotland he believed the Scottish government was "ignoring economic concerns".

He said he did not think that anyone could question "the support and investment in Scotland" from the UK government, pointing to the increase in Universal Credit during the pandemic.

"What they can question is the economic policies of the Scottish government and its own advisers," he said.

He also reiterated that the sudden resignation of former leader Jackson Carlaw was not a "stitch-up" and did not have the involvement of anyone at Westminster.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jackson Carlaw said he was standing down as leader after just six months in the role

In May, Mr Ross resigned as a Scotland Office minister over Dominic Cummings's efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

When asked if he would speak up against the UK government if they went down a road he did not agree with, Mr Ross said: "Absolutely, I think you've seen that very clearly to the extent I gave up a job, that I thoroughly enjoyed doing, in the Scotland Office."

He added: "I could not in all good faith look my constituents in the eye and support some of the actions Mr Cummings took in his trip to Durham, and therefore I would have been asked to come on to your programme and others to defend that.

"I couldn't do it and therefore resigned my role. However, I can be a strong independent voice and I think people have seen that in my actions."