Parliamentary watchdog 'satisfied' Douglas Ross didn't break expenses rules

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is "satisfied" Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has not broken expenses rules, a statement said on Friday.

Parliamentary watchdog IPSA was "reviewing" media reports that Mr Ross claimed for journeys to his job as a football assistant referee - not his former position as MP for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

But an IPSA spokesperson said: "We have reviewed Mr Ross's travel claims, relating to the allegations made in the press, and met with him to discuss the issues that have been raised.

"Following this review, we are satisfied that the claims were within IPSA's rules and no further action is required."

IPSA launched an investigation earlier this week over 28 journeys The Sunday Mail claimed were unrelated to his parliamentary position.

Under UK parliamentary rules, MPs can only claim travel from their home airport - which In Mr Ross's case was either Inverness or Aberdeen.

Diverted journeys permitted

They can also claim for "diverted" journeys but must supply detailed notes on the diversion.

The alleged false expenses claims included a £58 parking fee at Inverness Airport in July 2018, while parliament was in recess and a £43 train ticket from Heathrow to central London, which was claimed the day after Mr Ross was an assistant referee for a match in Iceland.

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The Sunday Mail also reported an expensed flight from London to Glasgow and £109 accompanying car parking, as well as £48.99 for parking the day the Scottish Tory leader refereed a Celtic game in November 2020.

It came after Mr Ross announced he will be stepping down as leader of the Scottish Tories after the general election.

He will be replaced as both an MP in Westminster and MSP for the Highlands and Islands.

Previously, Mr Ross said he was "very confident" he had not broken the rules.

"I am very confident that the claims I have made have been in line with my duties as a Member of Parliament and travelling to and from Westminster," he told Sky News. "I am very comfortable for that to be investigated."