Douglas Ross named in developing Tory sleaze scandal

Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, has reported himself to the Parliamentary ombudsman over undeclared earnings from his MSP salary and his work as a Scottish referee, for which he earned £6700.

Ross denies any intentional wrongdoing and has described their omission as an “error on my behalf that shouldn’t have happened“. Given both jobs are public facing and on display, it is genuinely likely that this incident was a simple error.

However, it points to the wider scandal at the heart of the Tory Party and begs the question: what do MPs actually get paid for? When Ross was first elected as an MSP earlier this year, many rightfully questioned his capacity to fulfil the role as MSP, MP and Scottish Tory leader.

This question remains, not just for those sitting as both an MSP and MP, but for all parliamentarians working additional jobs. Who are they representing, the people who voted them in or live in their constituency; or the people who give them the brown paper envelope at the end of the month?

The emerging scandal in the Tory Party has only really come to light as a result of Owen Patterson being found guilty of breaching parliamentary standards over paid lobbying.

But this corruption is nothing new, certainly not for the Tory Party. A little over ten years after the MP’s Expenses Scandal and the governing party continues to be wrought with corporate lobbyists each with their own agenda.

The Coronavirus pandemic too has seen some of the most overt corruption seen in decades. Despite this, it was plain old polygamy that forced Matt Hancock out the door. We need to step up our efforts to show this government that we have had enough.

More importantly though, we need to highlight this is not a case of scandal after scandal, but is a direct result of the way the capitalist system works when private corporations are drafted in to provide government services.

While there is so much attention on corporate sleaze, much of the mainstream media has ignored the most obvious example of bias at Westminster. In total 115 MPs across all parties are landlords, accounting for 18% of the House of Commons, compared with around 3% of the UK population.

How can we possibly expect MPs to represent renters in Parliament if so many of them earn a direct benefit from offering fewer protections for them? Each one of those 115 MPs earns at least £10,000 a year in rent. Do people really expect them to promote progressive legislation that might jeopardise this?

Peter Stoddart, is a member of the YCL’s Central Committee

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