SENIOR Scottish Conservatives are discussing ousting one of their most high profile MPs.

Tory activists in Aberdeen are turning against Ross Thomson and are considering the rare step of backing a rival for his seat at the next Westminster election.

“If Ross doesn’t get the support from the local party, he is not going to be put up next time. It doesn’t happen very often, but the procedure is there for him not to be the candidate. Some people are talking about this,” a leading Tory in the north east city told The National. “There is disappointment. Ross was one of our young hopefuls, who would go on to great things, but some of the maturity we expected hasn’t come about.”

Conservative figures are critical of Thomson’s decision to align himself with rebels such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, who led an attempted coup against Theresa May last month. They also believe his pledge to vote against the Brexit deal is out of step with local party thinking.

READ MORE: Tory MP Ross Thomson falls for 'blindingly obvious' TV prank

Some are even concerned having Thomson – who has been nicknamed “SNP Gain” by some in the party – as the Aberdeen South MP could damage the Tories’ chances of gaining further ground at Holyrood.

One insider cited photographs posted of Thomson on Facebook of him sitting on Saddam Hussein’s throne during a parliamentary visit to Iraq.

“MPs stand on their record and when it comes to the next election people’s memories are very long. Lack of loyalty is looked down upon,” the insider said. “He is certainly under pressure. It is not so much because of his views over Brexit, but some of his other behaviour which has not gone down too well – various tweets, Facebook entries and hitting the headlines. Loyal Tories are asking if he is the right person. We don’t know how he voted in the no confidence motion on the Prime Minister as it was a secret vote, but he is being viewed as not being supportive to the PM.”

The source added: “We want to form the next government in Scotland, have Ruth as our First Minister and we’re not going to achieve that if we are seen as not supportive to each other. The consequence of not backing May’s deal could result well result in general election – now is not the time not to be supporting the Prime Minister.”

READ MORE: I corrected Ross Thomson on Question Time... here’s why he’s wrong on drugs

A second senior Aberdeen activist confirmed some local party members were talking about getting another candidate in place ahead of the next Westminster election – whether in 2022 or before another snap vote.

“I personally wouldn’t object to Ross being a candidate again. However, I know some people will. It will have to be an open and honest campaign and he will have to put himself forward against other people,” the source said. “If there was a snap general election, I certainly think he would put his name forward. It is difficult to estimate whether he would get selected. I suppose it would depend on who we had opposing him. The Tories spent a lot of years in the Doldrums and we were lucky to get one candidate at a time. We have come through that now so there are better chances of getting more candidates. I think he would get people standing against him.”

Thomson, 31, was among the 12 new Scottish Tory MPs elected in the snap general election in June 2017. A former MSP for North East Scotland, he defeated the SNP MP Callum McCaig. The SNP is determined to win the seat back. But since his election to Westminster Thomson has rarely been out of the headlines. During the Conservative party conference last October he launched an outspoken attack on critics of Boris Johnson. The former Foreign Secretary’s speech in Birmingham was seen by many in the party as a bid for leadership and criticised by May supporters.

The speech came after it emerged that senior Scottish Conservatives had launched a bid – dubbed “Operation Arse’”– to stop the Uxbridge MP from succeeding May amid fears it could kill off the party’s revival north of the Border.

Thomson tweeted: “Regardless of your view of @BorisJohnson, today in his characteristic style he injected some much needed energy, optimism, passion and enthusiasm to a flat conference. The reaction in the hall was electric which even those “Operation Arsehole’s [sp]” can’t deny.”

Thomson’s support for Johnson had previously put him at odds with the Scottish Tory leadership. Following the former Cabinet minister’s speech to the Commons after his resignation in July, Thomon tweeted: “Historic and excellent personal statement from @BorisJohnson – There is still time to save #Brexit if the PM can hold to the pledges she made at Lancaster House. Absolutely spot on. #GlobalBritain.”

But Jackson Carlaw, currently acting leader while Davidson is on maternity leave, took a different view. Responding to suggestions that Johnson was “building up to something”, Carlaw tweeted: “But it didn’t. The enthusiasm drained visibly from the surrounding faces as it rambled on. He stumbled through generalities and sat down a busted flush.”

Responding to The National’s inquiries June Morrison, chair of the city of Aberdeen Conservatives, said she had received no formal complaints about Thomson.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Ross has the support of the Scottish Conservative party, locally and nationally. His views on Brexit are well known to all – and have been long before his election as MP for Aberdeen South.

“We are united and focused on securing the best deal for the UK as we leave the EU and holding a failing SNP Government at Holyrood to account.”

Thomson declined to comment.