Douglas Ross confirms intention to stand in North East at General Election

Douglas Ross has put himself forward for nomination as the Tory candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has confirmed his intention to stand at the General Election despite initially planning to step down.

Mr Ross enters the fray with just 24 hours left for nominations to be confirmed for seats ahead of the July 4 poll.

The announcement, at a hastily-arranged press conference in Edinburgh, comes after the party barred David Duguid – MP for Banff and Buchan in the last Parliament – from contesting the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, Mr Ross said: “Over the last 12 hours, I have thought long and hard about this and considered the options.

“I’ve spoken with my wife, my family, colleagues and local members.

“I’ve decided I need to lead from the front, so this evening I will put myself forward for nomination as Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.”

Mr Ross praised Mr Duguid, describing him as a “friend and colleague” who has “built a strong and impressive reputation as a champion for fishing and many other issues”.

Turning to his own chances, the former Moray MP – who had said he would step down from the Commons to focus on his duties at Holyrood – said: “I will stand in the seat and I intend to beat the SNP, just as I’ve done in the past, so we can get focused on the top priorities of local people.”

Those issues, including employment, the NHS and roads, will be “key” to Mr Ross for the next five years if he is elected.

“I fully expect the SNP to throw absolutely everything they’ve got at me,” he said.

“They will mobilise teams from the central belt to come north and deliver leaflets.

“John Swinney will pay the area a rare visit, SNP headquarters in Edinburgh will pour money into Aberdeen North and Moray East.”

But, he added, if local people “come together”, the Tories can “keep the nationalists out”.

Mr Ross insisted the SNP are “down, now let’s get them out”.

Mr Duguid issued a statement on Wednesday evening saying he had been barred from standing in the seat for health reasons.

In a social media post, he wrote: “Last week I informed you of my rehabilitation progress and how I was looking forward to campaigning (albeit without knocking on doors) for the upcoming election.

“I am pleased to say that my recovery programme is well on schedule thanks to the excellent NHS staff in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Spinal Injury Unit.

“Notwithstanding this, and despite my having been adopted by our local members, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has informed me tonight that they have decided not to put me forward as their chosen candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.”

More from North East Scotland News