Douglas Ross expected to be named Scottish Tory leader

Douglas Ross is expected to be named the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives on Wednesday.

No other challenger has put themselves forward or been nominated by the requisite 100 members to ensure a leadership contest.

Nominations close on Wednesday at noon, with Mr Ross appointed leader if no challenger materialises.

The Moray MP will take over from Jackson Carlaw, whose resignation on Thursday led to Mr Ross declaring his candidacy the following day.

Mr Carlaw said he believed he was not “the person best placed” for the leadership.

Mr Ross is expected to run for a seat in Holyrood at next year’s election and has asked former leader Ruth Davidson to fill in for him at First Minister’s Questions when the Scottish Parliament resumes next week.

Former Scottish Secretary David Mundell, current depute leaders Annie Wells and Liam Kerr and a host of MSPs and councillors have backed Mr Ross’ rise to the leadership along with Mr Carlaw and Ms Davidson.

He has already signalled his intent to unveil a plan for Scotland’s economy in the first 30 days of his leadership, effectively launching the Conservatives’ election campaign for 2021.

The MP also said he wants to hand more powers to local authorities, accusing the Scottish Government of a “power grab” over the 13 years the SNP have been in power.

As for a second independence referendum, with support for leaving the UK polling at 54% in two Panelbase polls in June and July, Mr Ross 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.”

Mr Ross, who previously represented the Highland and Islands region at Holyrood before beating then SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson for the Moray constituency, resigned as a minister in the Scotland office in May in the aftermath of government adviser Dominic Cummings’ efforts to defend a trip to Durham during lockdown.

The MP, who is also a part-time football assistant referee, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme he can be an ” strong independent voice” and will stand against the UK Government if it proposes a policy he does not agree with.