Rules must be changed to prevent abuse of MSPs standing as MPs

Being an MSP or an MP is a full-time job.

The Scottish Greens are calling for rules to be changed to ensure MSPs must focus on their work in the Scottish Parliament by barring them from being MPs in Westminster at the same time.

Co-leader Patrick Harvie said the current system was open to abuse by “careerists and opportunists” after the Tory leader at Holyrood, MSP Douglas Ross, confirmed they had blocked their prospective candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East from standing.

He will stand in place of David Duguid, who had expected to contest the vote after being selected while recovering from serious illness, until being replaced by Ross.

Mr Harvie said: “This is shockingly cruel treatment of David Duguid by the Tories and heartless opportunism from Douglas Ross in particular.

“The fact that they can do this to one of their own, in the middle of his recovery, tells you everything you need to know about what they will do to anyone else. They don’t care about people who are ill or disabled, or anyone facing real life challenges. Who else will they trample over in their desperation to cling to power?

“Yet again Douglas 'three jobs' Ross, who vowed to stand down at this General Election, has broken yet another promise. He must be the most overly employed man in UK politics. 

“He can’t be trusted. The Tories can’t be trusted. And voters in the North East should show them the contempt they deserve by voting with their conscience and ensuring he can never again call himself an MP.

“MSPs should, rightly, focus their attention entirely on the work of the Scottish Parliament on behalf of their constituents, not on how many pay packets they can rack up. These are both full time jobs and it is impossible to do them in this part time way.

“The system is being abused by careerists and opportunists, and that must be brought to an end. Mr Ross is making a habit of gaming the system, but this gravy train is an affront to democracy, common decency and is treating constituents with contempt.

“It is a truly shameful turn of events, even by Tory standards. We may disagree on politics, but our thoughts and sympathies are very much with David for the disgraceful way he has been betrayed and we wish him well in his continued recovery.”