DOUGLAS Ross has been told he has his “head in the sand” after making “laughable” claims about Brexit.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Scotsman’s political podcast, Ross was asked about the independence referendum, Brexit and his relationship with Boris Johnson.
On the indyref, the Scottish Tory leader explained: “I do think that the vast majority of us on the pro-UK side downed tools after 2014 because we were told there would be a once in a generation, one opportunity to vote to stay in the UK or leave the UK and become an independent country and both sides agreed to accept the result.
“But of course the nationalists never accepted that result. They are perfectly entitled to still believe in independence but they did say they would accept the result of the referendum and they have campaigned every single day ever since to have another independence referendum to get the result they want and I think that’s been part of it.”
Asked whether he was naïve to think that, Ross said: “I wouldn’t call it naivety I just think that when both sides agree to respect the result I can imagine what independence supporters would say if I had spent from the day after the referendum in 2014 if it had gone the other way, campaigning for Scotland to rejoin the UK, they would have been up in arms.
“They would have said you said you would respect the result and you are not doing that. I think that they have to accept that is a criticism.”
Referencing the Brexit referendum and undelivered promises about more decision-making powers for Scotland, the hosts asked Ross if he understood why many Scots feel that Holyrood tends to be ignored by Westminster.
The Tory leader denied that is the case, stating: “I do understand that Brexit has changed people’s opinions … I understand that English Votes for English Laws changed people’s minds or people were questioning that. But I also understand that the SNP and the Scottish Government will always make out that Westminster isn’t listening to the people of Scotland but Holyrood is.
“But I represent an area of Scotland out with the central belt. We often feel, as before, as distant from Holyrood and the Scottish Government as people across the whole of Scotland apparently felt before devolution.”
He added: “Those of us in the north of Scotland and the south of Scotland sometimes feel quite ignored by the decisions taken, particularly for the central belt of Scotland.”
The Moray MP, who resigned from a ministerial role last year due to his objections to the Dominic Cummings scandal, was then asked for his views on the Prime Minister.
“He is someone I work closely with,” Ross said. “There are things I think he’s got right, there are things I think he’s got wrong but I’m big enough and willing to say to him that actually ‘I don’t agree with you on that’.”
He added: “I hope people can understand my character from the Dominic Cummings affair – I can’t stand by and defend behaviour that I think is wrong.”
The SNP hit back at the Scottish Tory’s claims, accusing him of being ignorant about independence and the impact of Brexit.
Depute leader Keith Brown told The National: “The Tories don’t just seem to have downed tools they also have their heads in the sand over the impact of tearing Scotland out of the European Union against our democratic will.
“With the sell-out of Scotland’s north east and our fishing communities by Tory MPs like Douglas Ross, and the decision of Tory ministers to gerrymander future funding, taking vital funds from the Highlands and Islands and rural Scotland, it’s laughable to suggest Westminster is doing anything other than working against Scotland’s interests.
“The reality is more than half the population want to have a choice over their future in this coming Holyrood term, and a majority support Scotland becoming an independent country because they want decisions about Scotland’s future to be in Scotland’s hands, which is precisely what people will get by giving both votes to the SNP on May 6.”