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IPSA Clears Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross in Expenses Probe Over MP Travel Claims



Parliamentary oversight authority 'content' Douglas Ross adhered to spending regulations

Earlier this week, IPSA initiated a probe into 29 trips that The Sunday Mail alleged were unconnected to Douglas Ross’s previous position as MP for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Friday, June 14, 2024, 7:

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has confirmed that they believe Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, has adhered to the expenses regulations, according to a statement released on Friday.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is currently examining news articles alleging that Mr. Ross submitted expense claims for travel related to his role as a football assistant referee, rather than for his duties as the former MP for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

A spokesperson from IPSA stated, "We have examined the travel expenses submitted by Mr. Ross in light of the allegations reported in the media, and have convened with him to address the concerns that have surfaced."

"After examining the matter, we have concluded that the claims adhered to IPSA's regulations and no additional measures are necessary."

Earlier this week, IPSA initiated a probe into 28 trips reported by The Sunday Mail, alleging they were not connected to his duties as a parliamentarian.

According to regulations governing UK Parliamentarians, members are permitted to claim travel expenses solely from the airport nearest to their residence. For Mr. Ross, this would be either Inverness or Aberdeen airport.

Route deviations allowed

They are also entitled to submit claims for "diverted" trips, but must provide comprehensive details regarding the detour.

The questioned expense claims reportedly consisted of a £58 parking charge at Inverness Airport in July 2018, during a period when parliament was not in session, and a £43 rail fare from Heathrow to central London, which was submitted the day following Mr. Ross's role as an assistant referee at a game in Iceland.

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The Sunday Mail disclosed that the Scottish Tory leader had billed for a plane ticket from London to Glasgow and included a car parking fee of £109, in addition to £48.99 for parking on the day he officiated at a Celtic match in November 2020.

This announcement followed Mr. Ross revealing his plans to resign as the leader of the Scottish Tories post-general election.

He will be succeeded in his roles as both a Member of Parliament in Westminster and a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands and Islands.

Earlier, Mr. Ross expressed strong assurance that he had adhered to the regulations.

Speaking to Sky News, he stated, "I firmly believe that the claims I've submitted are consistent with my responsibilities as a Member of Parliament, particularly regarding travel to and from Westminster. I welcome any investigation into this matter."

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