The National:

DOUGLAS Ross is trying to make short-term let licensing a key plank of the Scottish Tories' campaigning. The problem is, he seems pretty clueless about the topic.

The Scots Tory leader – at least for now – was called out by people who actually know what they’re talking about after a pretty glaring blunder on social media.

“Pleased to meet Fiona Campbell from [the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers] and Iain Muirhead this afternoon to discuss disastrous SNP-Green short-term lets legislation.

“I confirmed @ScotTories will force a vote on the issue in Holyrood because if it becomes law, many people will lose their businesses.”

“If it becomes law”?

Ross, who sits in two separate parliaments as both an MP and an MSP, seems blissfully unaware that short-term let legislation is already law. In fact, it has been for well over a year.

The legislation was passed by the Scottish Parliament in January 2022 – and came into force two months later. All councils were required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 1 that same year.

Existing hosts and operators were given until April 1, 2023 to apply for a licence – but that deadline was then pushed back to October 1, 2023 amid the cost-of-living crisis.

But all this seems to have passed Douglas Ross by.

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Former MSP Andy Wightman pointed this out for him, writing: “‘If it becomes law’?? It was passed by Parliament in January 2022.”

Green councillor Anthony Carroll added: “I think Douglas Ross was too busy soothing his ego after being called a ‘lightweight’ by Jacob Rees-Mogg to have noticed STL license legislation passed 18 months ago.”

It was indeed also in January 2022 that Rees-Mogg delivered that damning (and accurate) verdict on Ross’s abilities.

“This man is just embarrassing himself now,” SNP councillor Math Campbell-Sturgess said. “It became law in January 2022. S6M-02852 and S6M-02853. He voted against both.”

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“Scotland’s most popular linesman spends so much time in Parliament as an MSP he doesn’t know what laws have already been passed,” another user quipped.

And SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: “Douglas Ross ought to get better briefed.”

Edinburgh University law lecturer Scott Wortley was more kind. He wrote: “I don't understand this tweet given the SSI was introduced in 2021 and approved in 2022.

“There is a transitional period in [article] 7. Maybe it is referring to that.”

Maybe. Probably not though.