IT wasn't supposed to be like this.

Even though the Tories are facing electoral annihilation in England and Wales, in Scotland an arrogantly bullish Douglas Ross was confident that his party could make gains at the expense of the SNP by cynically centring their campaign on the issue of Michael Matheson's expenses claims, even though this has nothing whatsoever to do with choosing a Westminster government.

However it was a convenient "Look over there!" issue to distract from the Conservatives' utterly woeful record in government.

The issue of expenses claims is indeed central to the Westminster election campaign of the Scottish Tories, but unfortunately for Ross, it's not Michael Matheson's expenses claims that are the centre of attention, but rather those of Douglas Ross - or to be more accurate they are the centre of everyone's attention with the noticeable exception of BBC Scotland, which is giving the story the Michelle Mone treatment and only mentioning it in passing when it absolutely has to.

It's markedly different from the enthusiastic gusto which the BBC displayed when going after the story of Michael Matheson, or indeed a slew of SNP politicians before him.

READ MORE: Fresh poll puts Reform UK just one point behind Conservatives

It has been alleged that on numerous and repeated occasions Ross claimed travel expenses from Westminster even though the expenses were incurred as part of Ross's third job as a football linesman, and not as part of his duties as an MP.

The story came to light over the weekend when a whistle blower within the Scottish Conservatives, presumably infuriated by Ross's disgusting treatment of fellow Scottish Tory MP David Duguid, leaked highly damaging information about Ross's expenses claims to the Sunday Mail.

According to the whistle blower, Ross allegedly made repeated inappropriate claims on expenses over a number of years then sought to cover it up.

Ross denies any wrong doing but if these allegations are true it points to a pattern of arrogant and breathtakingly hypocritical entitlement on the part of the Scottish Tory leader, who has dined out on faux indignation over one-off missteps on the part of SNP MSPs.

Now SNP depute leader Keith Brown (below) has written to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards urging a swift investigation of the allegations as Ross is currently standing for Parliament.

He wrote: “On Sunday, a substantial and serious allegation emerged regarding Douglas Ross, the Tory MP for Moray in the outgoing parliament.

“Mr Ross is in the highly irregular position of possessing three different paid jobs at the same time – MP, MSP, and football linesman.”

If substantiated, the allegations would amount to a serious breach of the MPs' Code of Conduct.

Keith Brown added: "Given the seriousness of this matter, it is in the public interest for these allegations to be investigated immediately.

"The need for that swift investigation is also required because of the fact that Mr Ross is now seeking re-election to Westminster, due to his last-minute decision to displace his colleague David Duguid.

"Voters in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East have the right to know if Douglas Ross has blatantly abused publicly paid expenses over the last number of years."

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak claims 'forces of separatism are in retreat'

Where's the blue murder tent, Police Scotland?

Ross has refused to say if he would withdraw from the General Election if the complaints against him are upheld.

He insisted he had gone through all 28 claims and doubled checked they were all legitimate.

Asked by The National whether he felt it was better to step down from Holyrood now and put his full effort into his campaign, he said: “I’m standing as the candidate for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East and I’m urging people and hoping people will unite behind me to beat the SNP, end their obsession with independence, and get the focus onto the issues that really matter and the people of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East know if they vote for me as their MP that I will step down from my other roles and focus on the issues that matter.”

The Tory manifesto shows a party grasping at straws

The Tory campaign has come off the rails, both in Scotland and across the UK as a whole.

Today Rishi Sunak unveiled the Conservative manifesto, which promises tax cuts which will be funded in part by a £12 billion squeeze on social security benefits.

The poor, the sick, and the disabled, who are already suffering financially, will be made to suffer even more in order to cut taxes for those who are better off than they are.

The Tories also promise to raise a further £6 billion by cracking down on tax avoidance.

Apparently, it didn't occur to them at any point over the past fourteen years that they could do that.

Make the wealthy pay their fair share? Now there's a novel concept.

Will Sunak be starting with his non-dom wife?

Sunak hopes this manifesto can turn around his party's ailing fortunes.

In a desperate bid to throw some hard right British nationalist red meat to Tory voters threatening to defect to Nigel Farage's vanity party, Sunak threatened to join Belarus and Russia as the only European countries outside the ECHR.

This is the manifesto of a government that's adrift in the ocean, slowly but surely going down one gulp of water at a time, saying anything, doing anything, grabbing on to anything that might keep it afloat for just a few seconds longer.

Not waving but drowning.

Sunak took time out of his busy schedule of dodging D-Day and staring electoral oblivion in the face to have a wee pre-emptive gloat that sending the "forces of separation" into retreat was one of the achievements of his government.

READ MORE: London-based candidate won't accept Douglas Ross's Holyrood seat

Mind you he also claimed that the Tories have reduced poverty so we're not exactly talking about a man who's based in reality here.

Polls consistently place support for independence at 50% or more.

It is not unusual now for an opinion poll to show majority support for independence.

When the Conservatives came to power in 2010, support for Scottish independence rarely registered more than a quarter or a third of the population.

Meanwhile, support for Welsh independence and Irish reunification have both surged in recent years while in Northern Ireland there's a Sinn Fein First Minister for the first time in the 100 year history of the Unionist statelet.

But yeah Rishi, you do you.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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