Referee Tory MP Douglas Ross to miss World Cup

MP Douglas RossImage copyright PA

Scottish Tory MP Douglas Ross has told football authorities he will no longer accept refereeing appointments when Parliament is sitting.

It means he will not be in the running to officiate at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Mr Ross was criticised for missing a debate on Universal Credit to run the line at a Champions League match.

He defended that decision in a letter to constituents saying he knew he would not be able to speak in the debate.

But now, in a statement given to online community newspaper Inside Moray, the Moray MP said he recognised he could no longer balance his football job with his political one.

Earlier this month, the MP was in Spain for the Barcelona v Olympiakos game on the same day as the Universal Credit debate was held at Westminster.

Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to defend him after SNP MP John McNally raised the issue by brandishing a red card across the chamber.

Mr Ross, a former MSP, was also criticised in November last year for missing a Scottish Parliament committee meeting to run the line in a Champions League match in Portugal.

It led to calls for him to stand down from his frontbench role as the Scottish Conservative’s justice spokesman.

Mr Ross later went on to defeat the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson at the general election in June.

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