LIBDEM leadership hopefuls have been slammed by the SNP after likening Scottish nationalism with the “populist” politics of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

The SNP said they “will not take lectures from a party who jumped into bed with the Tories at the first opportunity”.

Ed Davey, one of two LibDem MPs competing to become party leader, claimed that “echoes” of right-wing populism are evident in the independence movement.

He and leadership rival Jo Swinson, speaking ahead of a hustings in Aberdeen, also suggested they would block a second independence referendum were the party to hold the balance of power at Westminster.

Davey told the Press and Journal: “I think the right-wing Tory Brexiteers are undermining the United Kingdom in a dramatic way. I utterly reject what people like Boris Johnson stand for.

“I think nationalism in its populist sense, which you see from the Brexiteers and the Farages, you see echoes of that in Scotland which seeks to break up the country that I love.”

Swinson added: “SNP nationalism is trying to break up the UK and with Boris Johnson you’ve got nationalism and populism trying to drag us out of the EU and drag us out in an extreme way in a sort of no-deal scenario.

“Most people want to stay in the UK, stay in the EU and have governments who can get on with making people’s lives better.”

According to the Scotsman, Swinson said the independence debate had “sucked the life” out of politics at Westminster and Holyrood.

“There was a white paper on independence in 2014, with 650 pages of detail, and that was rejected by the Scottish people,” she said.

“When I speak to people across Scotland, there is a clear appetite for a government that makes their lives better, rather than this endless constitutional carousel that is distracting from important issues we should be getting on with.”

Davey suggested he would oppose a Section 30 order were his party to have a say at Westminster.

Lib Dems should always be prepared to work across parties, but there are some red lines,” he said.

“I would not work with a Brexit Conservative party ... I cannot work with a very left-wing, Brexit-loving Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party. And I wouldn’t sacrifice the unity of my country.”

The National: LibDem MP Jo Swinson spoke ahead of hustings in AberdeenLibDem MP Jo Swinson spoke ahead of hustings in Aberdeen

He added that he would be in favour of advancing “devo max” proposals.

“I very much believe in a federal Britain and having huge devolution in Scotland, always have, always will,” Davey said. “I’m very much in favour of Scotland having the powers that it needs.”

Asked to outline his vision for further devolution , he said: “I would work with the Scottish Liberal Democrats and wider Scottish politics to get that final settlement and take max devolution type proposals further forward, it was promised in the Scottish independence referendum and we have got to make sure that that agenda is fully delivered.”

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsty Blackman, hit back at the LibDem leadership candidates.

"The SNP will not take lectures from a party who jumped into bed with the Tories at the first opportunity and acted as midwife to their hamful austerity agenda,” she said.

"Scotland's future must not be in the hands of out-of-touch politicians such as Boris Johnson, who are lurching further and further to the right-wing extremes.

"And there is nothing remotely liberal or democratic in suggesting you would try to block a democratic mandate to give people a democratic choice.

“The LibDems say they are in favour of Scotland having the powers it needs – we need the full powers of independence. It is only as an independent nation in the EU that we can fix the damage done by the Tories."