Douglas Ross confirmed as Scottish Conservative leader

Douglas Ross has been confirmed as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

The Moray MP was the only candidate to have put their name forward to replace Jackson Carlaw.

With nominations closing at noon on Wednesday, he won the leadership without a contest.

Former leader Ruth Davidson has agreed to stand in for Mr Ross at First Minister's Questions until next year's Scottish Parliament election.

He then hopes to win a seat at Holyrood – but has said he has no plans to quit the House of Commons before the next general election.

Mr Ross described becoming leader as "the honour of a lifetime" and said his party must now earn the trust of people who are "looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland".

He added: "In taking on this job today, I am applying for another: to champion a post-referendum Scotland where we focus not on the divisions of the past but on rebuilding our country from the brink, restoring our reputation for educational excellence, empowering our regions and remote communities, and providing the decent jobs that everyone can aspire to.

"I am applying to work for anyone and everyone in Scotland who wants that to be the focus of our national debate, who wants to move the country forward, and wants that work to start now."

Mr Carlaw unexpectedly quit as party leader last week, less than six months after he succeeded Ms Davidson in the role.

He said he had come to the "painful" conclusion that he was not the right person to put the case for Scotland remaining in the UK.

And he said that a "younger and fresher voice" was needed to lead the party into May's election, when the Conservatives – who are the second-largest party in the Scottish Parliament – will be aiming to prevent the SNP forming another pro-independence majority.

In an interview with BBC Scotland on Monday, Mr Ross insisted that Mr Carlaw's sudden departure was not a "stitch-up" and did not involve anyone at Westminster.

Mr Ross is seen as a close ally of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, despite opposing Brexit in the EU referendum.

But he resigned as a Scotland Office minister in May over Dominic Cummings, the PM's chief adviser, refusing to quit for making a trip from London to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.

When asked if he would speak up against the UK government if they went down a road he did not agree with, Mr Ross said: "Absolutely, I think you've seen that very clearly to the extent I gave up a job, that I thoroughly enjoyed doing, in the Scotland Office.

"As leader of the Scottish Conservatives I will not be a member of the government and I won't be part of collective responsibility."

Mr Ross has already said he will set out an economic plan for recovering from the coronavirus crisis within the first month of becoming leader.

He added: "People in work and out of work are struggling, and that's why I'm focusing on the economy.

"It is a fresh leadership for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and that's something I'm keen to get with my strong team that's in place and the stronger team we're going to have in place after the next election."

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