Here's everything you need to know about Douglas Ross and why he resigned over Dominic Cummings alleged lockdown breaches

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 12:06 pm
Douglas Ross has resigned from Boris Johnson's cabinet (Getty Images)

In an open letter the MP for Moray stated that he could “not in good faith” back the prime minister's aide over his constituents.

Mr Ross said that "while the intentions may have been well-meaning", Mr Cummings' interpretation of the rules was "not shared by the vast majority of people".

"I have constituents who didn't get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn't visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the Government," the Conservative MP wrote.

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Ross’ shock resignation as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, came as fellow cabinet ministers attempted to rally around the aide whose position has come under intense scrutiny since revelations came to light on Friday.

Michael Gove defended Cummings’ claim that he had driven from Durham to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, saying "It'd have been entirely within his right to return to work that day on the basis of the advice he had been given, that's my understanding, so that drive was completely appropriate.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson continued to fiercely defend his aide. Speaking at a daily coronavirus press briefing Mr Johnson said that the public could “make up their own minds” about Mr Cummings’ actions.

Who is Douglas Ross?

Douglas Ross, 37, first moved into politics in 2007 representing the Fochabers-Lhanbryde ward as a member of Moray Council.

At the 2016 Scottish Parliament Election was elected an MSP for Highlands and Islands. During his time as an MSP he campaigned for the UNited Kingdom to remain a part of the European Union.

A year later he stepped down after an unlikely Westminster Victory.

Ross was elected MP for Moray in 2017 unseating former SNP leader in the House of Commons Angus Robertson.Ross’ victory was remarkable overturning Robertson’s majority of 9,065 to earn his own majority of 4,159.

During his first term as an MP Ross was criticised by Amnesty International following an interview with the Telegraph in which he made comments about the Traveller Community. Asked what he would prioritise if he became prime minister, Ross said he would introduce “tougher enforcement against Gypsies and Travellers”.

At the 2019 General Election Ross retained his Westminster seat, narrowly defeating SNP challenger Laura Mitchell with a majority of 519.

Following his 2019 election Ross was named Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the role from which he has now resigned.

Career as an assistant referee

Ross has juggled his time as a member of parliament with a career as a professional football referee.

He refereed the 2015 Scottish Cup final between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Falkirk, with the Caley Jags running out 2-1 victors.

The linesman once ordered the sending off of Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic during a fierce Old Firm derby.

Ross has been accused of prioritising his career as a linesman over his duties as an MP. In 2017 the Moray MP missed a vital vote on benefits cuts while he refereed a Champions League fixture between FC Barcelona and Greek outfit Olympiacos. He announced in 2017 that he would no longer referee matches that occur while Westminster is sitting due to “the fury” that his absence had caused. This meant that he could not live out his “dream” of representing Scotland at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Douglas Ross resignation as minister in full

"I have just tendered my resignation from the UK Government and my position as Under Secretary of State for Scotland.

"Following my re-election as MP for Moray last December, I was honoured to be asked by the Prime Minister to join his Government and take on this role in the Scotland Office.

"It is a position I have relished and one I've committed to wholeheartedly since my appointment.

"There was much I still hoped to do in this role but events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this Government.

"I have never met Dominic Cummings so my judgment on this matter has always been open and I accept his statement on Monday afternoon clarified the actions he took in what he felt were the best interests of his family. However, these were decisions many others felt were not available to them.

"As a father myself, my instinct is to always do what is best for my son and wife. We have been fortunate not to have caught this awful virus but, if we did, we are prepared to follow the government advice and stay at home to contain this virus.

"While the intentions may have been well-meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr Cummings' interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the Government asked.

"I have constituents who didn't get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn't visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the Government.

"I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the Government was right.

"This is not a decision I have reached quickly. I have waited to hear all of the information and thought long and hard over this.

"I realise both the immediate and long-term implications of my decision to resign from Government.”