Douglas Ross 'a pretend big man who has been found out', says Anas Sarwar

Douglas Ross will not be the last senior Conservative to be forced out as a result of the general election campaign, Anas Sarwar has predicted.

The Scottish Labour leader slammed his Holyrood rival today and claimed the outgoing Scottish Conservatives leader had been "found out".

Sarwar claimed the Tory MSP had attempted to portray himself as a "big man" standing up to the SNP.

Ross had earlier announced he would stand down as party leader after the general election on July 4 following a backlash after he announced his intention to stand to be an MP again - despite already being an MSP.

He is contesting the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat despite the area's previous MP saying he hoped to stand there.

David Duguid, a former Scotland Office minister, is recovering in hospital from serious illness but claimed he was ready to campaign.

Ross has faced repeated criticism from his political rivals for holding three jobs - MP, MSP and a match official for the SFA.

Speaking on a visit to Glasgow University today, Sarwar said: "Douglas Ross is just the first senior Tory to fall as a result of this election campaign. And I hope on July 4 there are many, many more to fall so we can finally get rid of this Tory Government.

Asked if the Tory leader's resignation would boost Labour in more seats, Sarwar added: "I've said throughout this campaign that we want to win in every part of the country.

"The reason I've not set an arbitrary target in terms of seats is the rule of politics - the more you people you persuade to vote for you, the more seats you are likely to win.

"I think in the first three weeks of this campaign, I think with hard work and humility, we have attempted to persuade people that by voting Labour, we can make sure that we get rid of the Tories, and put Scotland at the heart of an incoming Labour Government."

Asked if Holyrood would be better off without Ross as an MSP, Sarwar added: "Douglas Ross and the SNP have, in some ways, been two sides of the same coin in that they want to up the chaos and the division, rather than build consensus across the country.

"Douglas Ross wants to pretend that he is the big man that stands up against the SNP. The reality is he struggled to stand up at all in this election campaign. I think he has been found out."

Ross had also been facing claims from the SNP that he had “serious” questions to answer over whether he used Westminster expenses to travel for his job as a football linesman.

The outgoing Tory leader stressed he was “committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency”.

He stated: “Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention.

“I will, therefore, stand down as leader following the election on July 4, once a successor is elected.

“Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood.”

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