DOUGLAS ROSS has referred himself to the Westminster authorities after a Herald investigation found he failed to declare more than £28,000 in salaries.

The Scottish Tory leader helped referee 16 football matches between October and January 2021, making almost £7,000, but did not record the income in the Commons register of interests.

The Herald: Douglas Ross

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The Moray MP also failed to declare his salary as a Holyrood list MSP, which is worth £21,000 a year.

It is understood he will register his MSP salary monthly from now on.

Mr Ross, who has faced repeated controversy over his second job as a football official, said the omissions were a “genuine mistake” and he has now referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

The development comes as the Tories face a public backlash over sleaze and second jobs.

Sir Geoffrey Cox MP was revealed to have earned more than £1m in legal fees in the last year, working for the British Virgin Islands Government among others.

He has now been referred to the Standards Commissioner after video footage emerged of him taking part in virtual legal proceedings from his parliamentary office.

MPs are not supposed to use their office or any other taxpayer funded services for outside interests.

According to Mr Ross’s register of interests, he has earned £5106.70 for his work as an assistant or standby referee at nine games in October and November of last year.

However according to official sporting records, Mr Ross has been an assistant referee at a further 16 matches, including at the Scottish Cup semi final between Celtic and Aberdeen, and a Europa League match between Slavia Praha and Beyer Leverkusen.

Mr Ross earned a further £6728.57 for the games, with payments being made between November 2020 and January 2021.

The MP has not refereed any matches since January, partly due to a sporting injury and also due to his election as an MSP in May.

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He earns a £21,490 from Holyrood – a third of the standard MSP salary due to his dual role as an MP - and donates the cash to charity.

However this salary, or the portion he has been paid since May's election, has never been declared on his register of financial interests, despite other MPs declaring charity donations.

So far Mr Ross has donated to RLNI in Buckie, Kieran’s Legacy, Riding for the Disabled, Moray Women’s Aid and Shop Mobility Moray charities.

When asked about the omissions, Mr Ross said: “This was an error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened, and I apologise for not registering these payments on time.

“Since realising my mistake last week, I contacted the Office of the Register of Interests and made them aware of the situation. All payments have now been declared, including those from my MSP salary that are donated to charities.”

He has now referred himself to the Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone, who investigates breaches of the MPs’ code of conduct, and has also registered all the funds with the parliamentary officials responsible.

Ms Stone could recommend Mr Ross make a public apology in the Commons, or other sanctions including a suspension.

The SNP has accused Mr Ross of being “knee deep in Tory sleaze” and said he should drop his "side hustles" and concentrate on Holyrood.

The Herald: Kirsten Oswald MP

Kirsten Oswald, the party's deputy Westminster leader, said: "Triple-jobbing Douglas Ross is knee-deep in the Tory sleaze scandal.

"The rule-breaking Scottish Tory leader must shift his attention from maximising his outside earnings - and start focusing on his role as an MSP, which is supposed to be a full-time job.

"Failing to declare thousands of pounds from multiple side hustles is a clear breach of the rules - but the bigger concern is that Mr Ross isn't doing the day job. He's missed crucial votes, including on Tory universal credit cuts, to rake in extra cash running the line at football matches."

She said it was "time to blow the whistle on Tory sleaze" and added that Mr Ross should "finally decide whether he wants to be an MP, MSP or full time referee."

Ms Oswald continued: "Voters are not impressed that Mr Ross is desperately clinging onto his Westminster seat. People will rightly question whether he's doing it to make more money or because he's secretly planning to quit as an MSP when he's inevitably replaced as Scottish Tory Leader."

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain also criticised the declaration failure.

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Ms Chamberlain brought a debate in parliament on Monday on the ongoing allegations of sleaze within Westminster, after the Conservatives attempted to change the way MPs are investigated for alleged rule-breaking.

The MP for North East Fife, and the party’s chief whip, said: "Whilst we are debating what rules should exist for MPs having jobs outwith Parliament, Douglas Ross seems content to have several additional roles. He’s not only an MP - he’s also an MSP and a part-time referee.

"The revelation that he didn't declare more than £28,000 of additional income from these additional roles for almost a year highlights the serious flaws in the current system and why change is needed.

"It is right that he has apologised and is taking steps to rectify the matter. Our focus must now be on ensuring the public can trust that their MPs are focused on the day job of representing them."

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner does not confirm when she has received referrals, and is yet to announce an investigation into Mr Ross’s failed declarations.