THE SNP have called on Scottish Tory MPs to “stop whingeing and start acting” on RBS bank closures.

Earlier this week SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford celebrated a victory in his battle with state-owned RBS, when bank bosses promised a reprieve for 10 closure-threatened branches in rural communities.

He said this was down to the campaigning of local communities and the SNP group, and tweeted a picture of himself with his thumbs up outside one of his local branches.

Tory MP John Lamont was quick to criticise.

“Astonishing reaction from @IanBlackfordMP and @theSNP . Have they actually read what @RBS have announced?

“They are doing laps of honour despite dozens of branches being shut across Scotland. How many ‘saved’ branches will still be open this time next year?”

SNP MSP Mike Russell replied: “The reality is that a Tory PM refused to lift a finger despite vast sums spent bailing out @RBS. @IanBlackfordMP working with communities has achieved something for places such as #Inveraray in my constituency – progress which is now being sneered at by Tories like [John Lamont].”

Though branches in Biggar, Beauly, Castlebay on Barra, Comrie, Douglas in South Lanarkshire, Gretna, Inveraray, Melrose, Kyle of Lochalsh and Tongue will now remain open until the end of 2018, RBS has said their future depends on the findings of an independent review.

Up to 52 other branches across Scotland still face the threat of closure.

The SNP’s consumer affairs spokesperson Patricia Gibson said now was the time for the 13 Scottish Tory MPs to put pressure on their Government to intervene, and exert some influence over a bank bought for £45 billion by taxpayers in the middle of the financial crisis.

Gibson said: “The Tory Government has the power and responsibility to intervene, and prevent these vital local banks from closing. They are letting Scotland down by repeatedly refusing to do anything.

“After huge pressure from the SNP and community campaigners, RBS announced a reprieve for 10 branches – but the fight to save the remaining banks continues.

“It is time for the Scottish Tories to stop whingeing and start acting. So far their actions have not matched their words – they complain that banks are being closed but they have failed to put any serious pressure on their own Tory Government to act.

“The Tories cannot keep passing the buck – at some point they have to take responsibility. These banks are hugely important to communities across Scotland – with local people and businesses set to lose out if the Tory Government continues to dismiss their concerns, and let RBS off the hook.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Tories dismissed the call, and said it was the SNP who were putting the future of the branches at risk:

“The idiocy of the SNP group in Westminster almost derailed what little concessions RBS were making.

“In contrast, the Scottish Conservatives will continue to work constructively and effectively behind the scenes to get a good deal for customers.”

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee has summoned McEwan to talk about the closures.