DOUGLAS Ross is urging the public to vote for the Conservatives in the upcoming general election and give SNP candidates “the sending off they deserve”.  

The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party is appealing to voters after he wrote to First Minister John Swinney asking why Michael Matheson has not been sacked despite a cross-party Scottish Parliament result voting in a 27-day suspension for the former health secretary over his £11,000 iPad data roaming bill.  

Speaking at Broomfield Park in Glasgow, where he showed a ‘red card’ to cardboard cutouts of Swinney, Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon, Ross said: “We’ve got a very clear message that the nationalists have been obsessed with independence for far too long and voters up and down the country, if they unite behind us, can send the SNP a message to end their obsession with independence and get their focus back on the issues that really matter.  

“That means investing in our education system because we’ve seen for the last 17 years our educational standards in Scotland have plummeted down international comparisons, we need to ensure that we cut NHS waiting lists – one in seven Scots is on an NHS waiting list at the moment – and we want to create new jobs and we want to stop Scotland being the highest taxed part of the United Kingdom.” 

Glasgow Times:

He added: “If voters back the Scottish Conservatives in key seats where it’s a straight fight between my party and the nationalists, we can beat the SNP and get the independence debate off the pitch for good.” 

In his letter to Swinney today, Ross said Matheson has “damaged trust in politics” and said the First Minister will be “guilty by association” if he fails to take any action.  

Glasgow Times:

He told the Glasgow Times: “What I’ve seen in the first week of this campaign is people know that in key seats up and down the country, they can unite behind the Scottish Conservatives to beat the SNP.  

“What’s also been a huge cut through this week is John Swinney’s defence of his friend Michael Matheson.  

“Matheson tried to claim £11,000 of taxpayers money for his own iPad data roaming bill. He then lied about it to cover things up.  

“He’s finally been sanctioned by the Scottish Parliament, but the SNP MSPs refuse to support any ban and he’s still a member of the SNP.  

“So, John Swinney has major questions to answer how he has handled this scandal.” 

Glasgow Times:

As well as getting the independence debate off the table, Ross says elected Conservative candidates “will be champions for their local area”.  

He said: “We want to focus on issues such as the NHS.  

“Too many people are on an NHS waiting list so we published a paper looking at a modern, local efficient health service that will deliver those reductions on NHS waiting times. We’ll make it easier for people to see a GP. 

“We want to recruit more teachers here in Scotland to reduce class sizes to improve opportunities for young people.  

“We want to ensure the benefits of UK Government decisions for tax cuts for businesses such as those in hospitality, retail and tourism are passed on because for two years in a row now the UK Government have provided that benefit in England and then the money to do that to the Scottish Government and the SNP have decided to put that into their own priorities rather than helping local businesses here in Scotland. 

“So those are all the positive things we can do if we beat the SNP.”