Douglas Ross cleared of wrongdoing by Westminster watchdog over travel expenses

Doulas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories, has been cleared by the parliamentary watchdog
Doulas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories, has been cleared by the parliamentary watchdog - Stuart Nicol

Outgoing Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s expense claims were within the rules, the parliamentary standards watchdog said on Friday as it confirmed it would take no action against him.

Mr Ross was investigated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) over allegations that he may have claimed expenses to facilitate travel to his third job as a football linesman.

He was accused of filing for flights from Scotland to London, as well as train travel and parking, for activities not related to his position as the MP for Moray.

Mr Ross strongly rejected accusations of wrongdoing.

An Ipsa spokesman said: “We have reviewed Mr Ross’s travel claims, relating to the allegations made in the press, and met him to discuss the issues that have been raised.

“Following this review, we are satisfied that the claims were within Ipsa’s rules and no further action is required.”

If MPs travel between Westminster and their constituency but make a diversion from the normal route for non-parliamentary purposes, such as a family visit or party event, then they can claim for what is described as a “diverted” journey.

The maximum that can be claimed for such a journey is the standard open fare for the direct journey between Westminster and their constituency to ensure that it does not cost more than a normal trip.

On Monday, Mr Ross announced he would step down as leader of the Scottish Conservatives in Holyrood following a row over his decision to contest the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat at the general election.

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

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Ipsa has confirmed all of Douglas’ expenses claims were valid.

“His focus is on beating the SNP in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East where he’s spent the day speaking to local voters.”