Douglas Ross announced his bid to become leader of the Scottish Conservatives following Jackson Carlaw’s shock resignation.
The Moray MP had been a parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland – but resigned from the role over Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown.
However, his act of defiance has not stopped Mr Ross from emerging as the frontrunner as Mr Carlaw’s replacement. Senior party figures in Scotland are understood to be keen on the MP becoming leader and trying to win a seat as an MSP at the next Scottish parliament election in May.
The former UK government minister said at a “crucial time” in politics, he can unite the party after it lost its second leader in less than a year, also confirming that former party leader Ruth Davidson could now return to frontline politics.
Mr Ross confirmed that if he becomes the party’s next leader, former party leader Ruth Davidson will take on Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions until he wins a seat in the Scottish Parliament.
He said he will contest a seat in the Holyrood election in May if he becomes the party leader.
He has previously served as an MSP, but quit the Scottish Parliament for Westminster after ousting then SNP depute leader Angus Robertson in the 2017 general election.
Mr Ross said: “This is a crucial time in Scottish politics. We are months away from an important election and need strong, decisive leadership of our party to take on and defeat the SNP in seats right across the country.