Tory MP Douglas Ross skips welfare vote to referee football match

Tory MP Douglas Ross skips welfare vote to referee football match”

At 7pm MPs were expected to vote on the Labour motion demanding the rollout of Universal Credit is halted, amid concerns that vulnerable people face delays before receiving their full benefit, but the football match was due to begin at 7.45pm.

Prior to becoming an MP Mr Ross served as an MSP at Holyrood and had come under fire after missing a meeting in 2016 to travel to Portugal to be assistant referee at a clash between Sporting Lisbon and Real Madrid.

Ross is a qualified professional assistant referee who officiates in Scottish Premiership matches.

It isn't the first time Douglas Ross, who ousted the SNP's deputy leader Angus Robertson in June, has been caught off-side. Indeed, he is in Barcelona doing his other job, today of all days.

As such, it was left to SNP MP John McNally to deliver a sarcastic "red card" to his contemporary in absentia at the House of Commons this afternoon...

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "There will be many Scottish Conservative representatives in this debate".

The No 10 spokesman said: "We don't necessarily discuss whipping in public but we have made some comments previously about what we plan to do going forward in terms of non-binding votes on Opposition Days".

"You will see Tory MPs who take an interest in this speaking in the debate and participating and of course you will have ministers speaking from the despatch box".

He has also been selected as part of the team of officials responsible for overseeing Barcelona's Champions League tie against Olympiakos, which coincides with the vote on the Government's proposed roll-out of Universal Credit.

But shadow Scotland Office minister Paul Sweeney said: "It shows a perverse sense of priorities that Douglas Ross is off working a second job in Barcelona while Parliament debates the huge damage that universal credit is causing in our society".

The Labour MP said: "The rollout of Universal Credit has blighted lives across the country, forcing many to rely on food banks and crisis grants to get by".

'Yet Mr Ross doesn't even have the decency to turn up to Parliament and explain why he supports putting people through such misery'.

"This sorry episode will leave Mr Ross's constituents in no doubt as to where his priorities lie and it's not playing the game for them".

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