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Controversy and Challenge: Douglas Ross to Stand in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East Amid Health Concerns for Outgoing MP David Duguid

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will contest the seat previously held by MP David Duguid, who has been barred from running by the Conservative Party. Duguid, currently recuperating from spinal surgery, had expressed his desire to run for re-election in the upcoming 4 July election.

Political journalist @alixculbertson

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 12:

Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has declared his candidacy for the next general election. He will be contesting a constituency where the anticipated Conservative candidate is currently recuperating from surgery on his spine.

Mr. Ross declared his resignation from his role as a Westminster MP to focus on his duties as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, in preparation for the upcoming 2026 Holyrood election campaign.

However, on Thursday morning, with just a day remaining before the nomination deadline, he declared his candidacy for the position of Westminster MP in the newly formed Aberdeanshire North and Moray East constituency.

Stay updated: Current developments in the general election

The constituency of Moray has been dissolved due to alterations in the electoral boundaries, and it has now been incorporated into a newly formed district.

The constituency of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East now includes Banff and Buchan, a seat that Scottish office minister David Duguid has represented since 2017.

Mr. Ross's decision is expected to spark debate, given that Mr. Duguid was not chosen for the position on Wednesday evening due to health reasons, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Mr. Duguid mentioned that he was eager to run for office in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency, citing his satisfactory recuperation from a recent surgical procedure.

He was in the ICU for a month because of a disease impacting his spinal cord.

Learn more: The legislators not seeking re-election and the key regions targeted by political parties.

Mr. Ross stated that the party was forced to make the tough choice of disallowing Mr. Duguid from running as he was not in good health.

He mentioned that he chose to run for the parliamentary seat only on Thursday morning, and had not previously envisioned himself as a candidate in this election.

He declared, "It's essential that I take the initiative," adding, "I will compete for the seat and aim to defeat the SNP once again, allowing us to concentrate on the primary concerns of the residents."

Stay informed about the most recent developments from the UK and internationally by tuning into Sky News.

Mr. Ross commended Mr. Duguid, referring to him as a "friend and colleague" and noting his "robust and notable reputation as an advocate for fishing and various other matters."

He noted, "I anticipate that the SNP will use all their resources against me. They'll send squads from the central belt up here to distribute flyers.

"John Swinney is set to make an uncommon trip to the region, while SNP headquarters in Edinburgh will channel funds into Aberdeen North and Moray East."

Mr. Ross acknowledged that local members might have "concerns" regarding how Mr. Duguid was handled.

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The SNP swiftly criticized Mr Ross's action, labeling the handling of Mr Duguid as "unjustifiable."

"Things have taken a turn for the worse within the party," stated SNP campaign leader Stewart Hosie.

Scottish Labour's Deputy Leader, Dame Jackie Baillie, emphasized that the decision underscores "there is no pledge that Ross won't backtrack on."

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A recent YouGov survey, conducted in collaboration with Sky News, indicates that the regions of Aberdeenshire and Moray East are likely to remain under Conservative control. Meanwhile, the constituency of Moray West, Nairn, and Strathspey, primarily comprising the former Moray seat held by Mr. Ross, is expected to be won by the SNP.

In addition to Mr. Ross, the confirmed contenders for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East include:

• Ian Bailey – Liberal Democrats

• Andrew Brown – Labour Party

• Seamus Logan – Scottish National Party

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