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Shop talk? Douglas Ross declines to say if Jackson Carlaw’s leadership was discussed when he was visited by Ruth Davidson

Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson.

Douglas Ross has declined to say if Jackson Carlaw’s Scottish Conservative leadership was discussed when Ruth Davidson made the trip to his home in Moray four days before his resignation.

The newly-installed Scottish Conservative leader said Ms Davidson made the long journey to discuss a “personal issue” but did not answer directly when asked if the leadership had come up in conversation.

The fact that Ms Davidson travelled from Edinburgh for a secret meeting with Mr Ross has led to claims the duo were plotting the downfall of Mr Carlaw.

Mr Ross claimed there was no plot, but dodged the question when asked if Mr Carlaw ‘s situation had been discussed when Ms Davidson travelled north.

Mr Carlaw unexpectedly quit as Scottish Conservative leader last week, saying he had come to the “painful conclusion” that he was not the person best placed to defend the United Kingdom.

Jackson Carlaw while leading the Scottish Conservatives.

Since then Mr Ross has risen unchallenged to become Scottish Conservative leader with the help of Ms Davidson, who will stand in for him at First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) at Holyrood.

Earlier this week Ms Davidson was asked on BBC’s The Nine programme if there had been a plot to oust Mr Carlaw.

It was after Jackson resigned that I asked her to front FMQs.”

Douglas Ross

The programme’s host, Martin Geissler, asked Ms Davidson if she had been helping Mr Ross before Mr Carlaw’s resignation?

Ms Davidson, who served as Scottish Conservative leader for eight years, replied: “No, no, no, after.”

When asked a similar question Mr Ross referred to a statement issued by the Conservatives, which said Ms Davidson had visited on a “personal matter”.

“It was after Jackson resigned that I asked her to front FMQs,” Mr Ross said.

When asked if there were any discussions during the visit about Mr Carlaw’s position, Mr Ross said: “I hope you understand that when you are discussing a personal issue, I don’t think it is right that it is discussed in news and in the media. We have put out a statement on that and it has been covered by the party.”

Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson.

Pressed if there had been a plot to persuade Mr Carlaw to leave, Mr Ross said: “The statement confirms that was not the case, because I asked Ruth (to do FMQs) after Jackson resigned.”

Finally, Mr Ross was asked if Mr Carlaw’s name had come up during their meeting.

He replied: “You can ask me a hundred times, but I think we have been quite upfront putting out that statement yesterday clarifying that Ruth was visiting on a personal matter and after Jackson resigned I asked her to take over at FMQs.”

Labour’s Neil Findlay has accused Mr Ross and Ms Davidson of “hatching a plan” to get rid of Mr Carlaw as leader and called for full disclosure of what was discussed.

Ms Davidson was unavailable for comment.

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