TORIES are “jumping ship before they can be turfed out by the people of Scotland at the coming election”, the SNP have said, after a Scottish Conservative MP revealed he will not defend his seat.

Bill Grant announced he will not stand again in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock – days after a poll showed all 13 Scottish Tory MPs are in danger of being displaced by the SNP. Grant was elected with a majority of less than 3000 over the SNP’s Corri Wilson in 2017.

In the wake of Ruth Davidson’s resignation as leader of the Scottish Tories, a YouGov poll last week in the 13 Westminster constituencies currently held by the party showed support for the SNP up on 42%, with the Tories 12 points behind on 30%.

A separate YouGov poll of voting intentions across Scotland, for the Times, had support for the SNP on 43%, with the Tories 23 points behind on 20% and Labour on 15%.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said after Grant’s announcement: “The Tories clearly see the writing on the wall – and are jumping ship before they can be turfed out by the people of Scotland at the coming election.

“Unlike the SNP, Tory MPs have completely failed to stand up for Scotland. Every time they have had the chance to vote against Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit they have bottled it and obeyed their orders from Downing Street. Not one of them had the guts to stand up to Boris Johnson and oppose his reckless No-Deal plans which threaten to be ruinous for the Scottish economy – and voters will remember that.

The National: Boris Johnson

“It’s no wonder support for the Tories is collapsing. They have cut Scotland’s budget and want to impose a devastating Brexit, which could cause a recession, destroy 100,000 Scottish jobs, and inflict lasting harm on living standards, public services and the economy.

“Once the threat of a No-Deal Brexit is off the table, there must be an early election so we can get rid of the Tories. The SNP will be putting Scotland’s opposition to Brexit and our right to choose our own future at the heart of that contest.”

Grant, 68, voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. He later declared his support for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.

He said he had made the “difficult decision” not to seek re-election after “much reflection”, adding: “I have served my country in some form of public service for 53 years and to leave that service now when the country is facing such an enormous challenge has been difficult to consider. However, I have always maintained that I intended to serve one term only, albeit in this case it looks to be only two-and-a-half years rather than the anticipated five.

“I wish to thank all my constituents who supported me in 2017 and those who have in recent weeks indicated that they would support me in the forthcoming election, including a number from those who are not traditionally Conservative voters.”

Grant came under fire last year over a photograph of him apparently sleeping during a Commons debate on pensions equality for women.

SNP MSP Jeane Freeman said at the time: “Not only did Bill Grant MP refuse to sign the Waspi [Women Against State Pension Inequality] pledge to support Waspi women in their fight for pension equality a few months ago, he fails to give the Waspi debate in parliament the attention it deserves by falling asleep on the job.”

Grant said he just had his eyes closed and was “listening intently”.

Blogger Calton Jock wrote a piece about Grant last year entitled: “Tory MP Bill Grant – The Most Right Wing Unionist Tory in Scotland – Were the Voters of Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock Possessed When They Sent Him To Westminster?”