DAVID Cameron has claimed the Scottish Conservatives are now “the effective opposition” in Holyrood.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the party’s conference in Edinburgh yesterday morning, where he attacked the SNP’s record on government and criticised Nicola Sturgeon’s family for buying their own council house.

He also, bizarrely, attempted a Scottish accent – an effort that was met almost immediately with confusion and derision on social media.

Recounting the story of visiting an Edinburgh fish and chip shop after an England defeat at the Six Nations, the Prime Minister mimicked the voice of the man behind the counter who offered him “humble pie”.

Moving on swiftly, he praised his party’s sole MP and their “not-so-secret weapon” Ruth Davidson, and claimed that since Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats now allowed their politicians to campaign for independence, it was up to the Tories “to speak up for the two million people who voted ‘No’ in that referendum”.

He then moved to the Fiscal Framework agreement reached last week, saying the Scotland Bill would be a huge opportunity for the Scottish Parliament, giving Holyrood “proper accountability and full responsibility”.

“So it’s time for the SNP Scottish Government to end the grudge, gripe and grievance – and start to govern. It’s an end to the blame game. The buck now stops at Bute House,” he said.

“Smith delivered. Vow met. A devolution deal for a powerhouse parliament. Our Union made stronger. All achieved by us – the Conservative and Unionist Party.”

Cameron then attacked Labour’s plans to increase the Scottish rate of income tax, claiming it would impact teachers and nurses more than the rich, and that the proposed rebate would be too costly to implement.

“We believe it is right that people keep more of the money they earn, not less,” he said.

“It comes back to that Conservative motto: ‘There’s no such thing as government money; only taxpayers’ money’.”

Cameron then went on to attack Labour and the SNP for their stance on Trident, saying the Tories were the party of the armed forces.

“In such dangerous times with Russian aggression raging, with Daesh on the rampage, their opposition to Trident puts defence jobs and our national security at risk and, as Conservatives, we can never, ever let that happen,” he promised.

After nine years, Cameron said, the SNP are the establishment, and because of Labour’s “collapse, Scotland is in danger of becoming a one-party state.”

“Look at [the SNP’s] litany of failure,” the Prime Minister said, “Children’s school attainment – stagnating. The number of college students – falling. Help for poorer students at university – cut. Increasing health spending like England – unfulfilled.

“Then there’s the mess of the law that bans football songs. There’s the lost accountability of merging eight police forces into one.

“There’s the abolition of Right to Buy – yes, even though Nicola Sturgeon’s family benefitted from it, she’s saying that you can’t.

“There’s even the absurd Named-Person policy, which ensures every child is allocated a guardian – even if they have parents; even if they have no need for this extra layer of bureaucracy. Well, I’ll tell you who needs a guardian – someone to keep them in check – it’s the SNP.”

The Tories, he said, would: “drape ourselves in red, white, and Saltire blue”.

Speaking ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech, the SNP’s Derek Mackay said: “Based on his record, it’s little wonder that the Tory prime minister’s approval ratings are at rock bottom and his party are still reeling from their worst electoral defeat in Scotland for 150 years – under David Cameron and Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tories are a party going nowhere.”

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Scotland deserves better than what the Tories are offering.”

The National View: Surge in popularity of toxic Tories may be an illusion