DOUGLAS Ross was sworn in as Moray’s MP yesterday – and has promised that the constituency will always be his priority.
The new MP for the area took his seat in the House of Commons this week alongside 12 other Scottish Conservatives, the most since the days of Margaret Thatcher in 1983.
However, across the UK the party lost 13 seats, and while the Tories are the largest party with 318 MPs, they do not have enough to form a majority.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for entering into negotiations with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, given members’ views on gay rights, abortion and climate change.
Mr Ross said: "I fully accept some of the criticisms that have been raised by constituents relating to the DUP and social issues.
"I’m confident their involvement in this matter will not have any impact on social policies in Scotland or England and Wales."
He added: "There is not a formal coalition with the DUP, but we will look for their support on the budget, the Queen’s speech and Brexit negotiations.
"On these important issues we want the best possible outcome for the UK, and at this moment in time, I don’t think the public has an appetite for another election."
Since arriving in London, Mr Ross has spent a lot of time attending training sessions organised by party whips, and trying to resolve IT issues – and he assured those waiting for a reply that he would get back to them as quickly as possible.
He has also resigned his seat in Holyrood, where he was a Highlands and Islands list MSP and the Conservatives’ justice spokesman.
The former Moray councillor said: "One of the big differences to the Scottish Parliament is we were in opposition – it’s certainly easier to oppose than govern.
"The result in Scotland was very good, but that wasn’t repeated across the whole of the UK."
Mr Ross dismissed rumours he was in line for a job in the Scotland Office. "David Mundell has been the sole Scottish Conservative MP for a long time, and now he has been joined by 12 others.
"What’s happening at the moment is we are being installed as MPs, which is a huge, huge job for all of us. But my first priority is to serve the people of Moray."
Mr Ross gained the seat from the SNP’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson, with a majority of 4159. In the last general election Mr Robertson had a majority of 9065.
The scale of the result took many by surprise, including Mr Ross. "At the start of this campaign I thought I might sneak it, but I had to overturn a majority of over 9000, and Moray has been an SNP stronghold for 30 years."
After the count at Elgin Town Hall, Mr Robertson – depute leader of the SNP and leader of the Nationalists’ group at Westminster – said: "There is a lot of change going on and people are seeking answers to the complex problems that we all face.
"It has been a tremendous honour for me to be elected and re-elected to represent the finest part of Scotland."
Former First Minister Alex Salmond lost his seat in Gordon.