A leading Scottish Conservative MSP missed a parliamentary committee to referee a Champions League match in Portugal. Douglas Ross is a Tory justice spokesman to Rush Davidson, who serves as the leader of Scotland's opposition party. Basically, it's a pretty important job. But Ross has another job: assistant referee. And he may lose his job as justice spokesman because of his refereeing, according to the Daily Record. Ross was supposed to be at a parliamentary meeting last week; however, he missed it because he was serving as an assistant referee for the Real Madrid vs. Sporting Lisbon Champions League match. Because of that, there have been calls for Davidson to fire Ross.
Refereeing isn't even Ross's second job. It's his third. Douglas Ross earns up to £40,000 a year as a self-employed specialist assistant football referee, according to his Scottish Parliament register of interests. He is also a councillor with Moray Council and his trip to Portugal meant he missed its policy and resources committee meeting on Tuesday. SNP MSP Ben Macpherson said it was not the first time Ross's refereeing job had affected his parliamentary work. He has been criticized in the past for not showing enough commitment to his job as justice spokesman. In September, Ross was supposed to attend key meetings and a vote over military base closures. But he wasn't available for them because he was at a five-day refereeing course in Switzerland. When Ross was criticized for it, the Tories called it "a one-off problem", but it's pretty clearly not just a one-off anymore. Macpherson said: "The arrogance and blatant disrespect of 'three jobs' Tory Douglas Ross is simply staggering. "Last time the whistle was blown on one of his refereeing junkets the Tories claimed it was just a 'one off'. But he's at it again - and this time it should be a straight red card. "Obviously he values his £40k-a-year weekend job - and all-expenses paid trips to Lisbon and other European cities - more than his responsibilities as an MSP and local councillor, demonstrating complete contempt for the people who elected him. "If Douglas Ross can't pitch up to do his job, it's time for relegation - he should either take a step back from refereeing or stand down from Holyrood's justice committee with immediate effect and Ruth Davidson should give him the boot from her frontbench team." A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "Earlier this year Ben Macpherson asked Douglas to kindly speak to clubs in his constituency about refereeing - presumably this invitation has now been rescinded".