A difficult few days on the Westminster campaign trail has led Scottish Tory Douglas Ross to step down from his role as party leader amid mounting criticism from across the political spectrum.

Mr Ross, an MP until the election was called, as well as an MSP, leader of the Scottish Tory group at Holryood and high-level football official, found himself at the centre of a political storm after being selected to stand for Westminster in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

The seat was expected to be contested by former Scotland Office minister David Duguid, who has been under medical treatment. However, the party moved to block Mr Duguid from standing, with Mr Ross, who had previously pledged to step down from Westminster, announcing he was stepping in as candidate instead of Mr Duguid.

The party said the decision not to allow Mr Duguid to stand was taken on health grounds, despite local party members adopting him as their official candidate.

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Tories said: “David Duguid is unfortunately unable to stand in this election. David has been an excellent MP and great local representative for the last seven years.”

Despite this, Mr Duguid took to social media say reports he is unable to stand due to health issues are ‘simply incorrect’.

He added: "They apparently took this decision based on two visits from the party director and without receiving any professional medical prognosis."

Mr Ross, who has been keen to highlight his agricultural background to Scottish Farmer readers, was then revealed as the candidate for the seat.

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The move sparked criticism, with First Minister John Swinney saying he was ‘genuinely disgusted’ at the situation, describing Mr Duguid as ‘a well-respected member of parliament’. He also slammed what he described as the ‘naked self-interest’ of Mr Ross.

Pressure continued to mount on Mr Ross who then announced his decision to stand down as leader earlier this week. He also said he would step down as an MSP at Holyrood if he wins the Westminster seat.

In as statement, he said: I have served as MP, MSP and Leader for over three years now and believed I could continue to do so if re-elected to Westminster, but on reflection, that is not feasible.

“I am committed to fighting and winning the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

“Should I be given the honour to represent the people and communities of this new seat, they should know being their MP would receive my complete focus and attention.

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“I will therefore stand down as Leader following the election on July 4th, once a successor is elected.

“Should I win the seat, I will also stand down as an MSP to make way for another Scottish Conservative representative in Holyrood.

“My party has a chance to beat the SNP in key seats up and down Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who last week found himself at the centre of a storm of criticism after leaving D-Day commemoration events early for a TV interview said Mr Ross has a record to be proud of as Scottish Conservative leader.