THE Scottish Conservatives are struggling to fill a vacancy for a new MSP after becoming a victim of their own success at the general election.

So many people have been elected from the party's North East list for Holyrood that it is now down to a single option - but he is needed to keep the Tories in power on Aberdeen City Council.

The party put forward ten names for last year’s Scottish election, half of whom were elected - Alexander Burnett became MSP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, while Alex Johnstone, Ross Thomson, Peter Chapman and Liam Kerr became regional MSPs.

After Mr Johnstone died in December, he was replaced by the sixth-placed Bill Bowman.

On Thursday, Mr Thomson was elected MP for Aberdeen South, creating another list vacancy.

However the seventh place candidate, Nicola Ross, effectively disqualified herself by standing against the Tories in May’s local election as an Independent in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile the eighth and ninth place candidates - Colin Clark and Kirstene Hair - were elected as MPs in Gordon and Angus respectively, taking them out of contention.

That leaves Tom Mason as the tenth and final option on the North East list.

However Mr Mason is depute Provost in Aberdeen, where the Tories and Independents have 23 of the 45 seats, and if he quit to become an MSP, the Tories could lose the resulting by-election and hence power in the city.

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “We are currently confirming who will take up the places on the Highlands and North East lists that have been vacated, and will be following due process.”

The situation is simpler in the Highlands & Islands, where the election of MSP Douglas Ross as MP for Moray means Jamie Halcro Johnston is expected to replace him at Holyrood.