MORAY’S NEWLY ELECTED Conservative MSP will continue to serve as a councillor for Fochabers/Lhanbryde for another year.
Douglas Ross has said that his decision will save hard-pressed Moray Council money – as he has written to council leaders saying that he will not accept a salary for the post.
His decision will also save the costs of another by-election in Moray at a time when voters in the region are suffering from ‘election fatigue’ with the polls opening again next month for the European Referendum.
“I have taken the decision to continue as a councillor on Moray Council until the local government elections next May,” the Highlands and Islands MSP said in a statement last night. He added: “As soon as I was elected I contacted the council advising that I would no longer accept a salary for my role.
“I felt holding a by-election less than a year before the full Moray Council was up for re-election was not the best use of anyone’s time. Not triggering a by-election and not drawing a salary will save the council a significant amount of money and I feel I can still ably represent the people of Fochabers-Lhanbryde as both their councillor and MSP.”
Mr Ross repeated his contention that his showing in last week’s Parliamentary Election and that of his party around Scotland demonstrated that Moray could no longer be regarded as an SNP stronghold.
He said: “Moray has always been a two-horse race between the Conservatives and the SNP and I was confident from the response we were getting during the election that we could see an increase in our vote.
“Given we were 11000 votes behind the SNP we had a real mountain to climb so to almost double our vote in five years and take the majority down to 2,800 was a great achievement and I’m grateful to all the support I received from people throughout the constituency.
“There were many issues which led to this result. Many parts of Moray are concerned about the centralisation of the SNP, our farmers have still not seen the CAP payments they are due from the Scottish Government and there was clearly a desire to see Ruth Davidson lead the opposition in Holyrood.
“As a result of our votes in Moray and across the wider Highlands and Islands region I have been elected as one of the areas regional MSPs. This means I represent constituencies from Shetland to Argyll and from the Western Isles to Moray.
“Our excellent result in Moray was replicated across the country as the Scottish Conservatives increased our MSPs from 15 to 31, largely down to the fantastic campaign led by Rurh Davidson.
“We are now the official opposition in Scotland and I look forward to working with Ruth, holding the SNP government to account and providing a strong local voice for our area in the Parliament.”