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Ross Thomson steps down as Tory candidate following ‘malicious’ allegations

He said the allegations had made his life a ‘living hell’.

Ross Thomson has stepped down as the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen South in the wake of claims made by a Labour MP. (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Images)
Ross Thomson has stepped down as the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen South in the wake of claims made by a Labour MP. (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Images)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

Conservative MP Ross Thomson has stepped down as the party’s candidate in next month’s General Election, as he claimed “malicious” allegations against him had made his life a “living hell”.

Mr Thomson announced he would not be the Tory candidate for Aberdeen South after a Labour MP claimed he had “groped” him in a Westminster bar.

Paul Sweeney, the MP for Glasgow North East said he was speaking out about the alleged incident, which he referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, because he feared no action will be taken before next month’s General Election.

But Mr Thomson, who led Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party leadership campaign north of the border, insisted the claims by the Labour politician were “false and defamatory”.

Anonymous and malicious allegations this year have made my life a living hell. It has been nothing short of traumatic. I have suffered a level of personal abuse that has affected my health, my mental wellbeing and my staff. It has been a level of abuse that I never imagined possible Ross Thomson

He said he was the victim of a  “political smear”, and while he said he would fight to clear his name, Mr Thomson said he would not be seeking re-election.

He stated: “Anonymous and malicious allegations this year have made my life a living hell.

“It has been nothing short of traumatic.

“I have suffered a level of personal abuse that has affected my health, my mental wellbeing and my staff.

“It has been a level of abuse that I never imagined possible.

“I always believed politics was about noble pursuits and doing what you believed to be best for your country.

“My experience is that our politics is now so poisonous that we will never attract good, honest and decent people in the first place.

“I have therefore made the most difficult decision that I could ever make.

“I have decided that I will stand down as the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Aberdeen South.”

Mr Thomson, who was elected to the Commons in 2017, said being an MP had been “the absolute privilege of my life”.

He added: “It has been a job that I have loved more than any other and nothing can ever come close to being able to stand up for our city and to help people who need you.”

He said he was confident that the ongoing parliamentary standards process would find in his favour “and that these baseless claims will be shown up for what they are”.

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Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He also said he would “explore all options available to me in response to the defamatory and damaging allegations made by Mr Sweeney”.

His comments came after the Scottish Mail On Sunday reported Mr Sweeney had “felt paralysed” during an alleged incident in the Strangers’ Bar in Westminster in October last year.

The Glasgow North East MP told the paper: “It was just such a shocking thing.

“I was in a cold sweat, it was mortifying.”

A spokesman for Mr Sweeney said: “This assault, which took place last October, was reported to the appropriate authorities after similar but entirely separate allegations were made by other men against Ross Thomson in February.

“In light of the failure of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to resolve this matter before the General Election Mr Sweeney feels it is important that voters in Thomson’s constituency should be aware of his behaviour as their representative at Westminster.”

We understand that the recent media coverage has been extremely difficult for Ross and it would have made the upcoming general election campaign a deeply unpleasant experience Simon Turner, Aberdeen City Conservative Association

Simon Turner, the chairman of the Aberdeen City Conservative Association, said: “Ross Thomson has been a fantastic MP and a champion for his city.

“He has always put his constituents first and it is with deep regret that we accept his decision today.

“However, we understand that the recent media coverage has been extremely difficult for Ross and it would have made the upcoming general election campaign a deeply unpleasant experience.

“We would like to thank Ross for his years of hard work for this city, as a councillor, an MSP and an MP for the last two years.”

PA

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