DOUGLAS Ross has won the support of a former Scottish Tory leadership candidate on the basis that he’ll lead a “Boris backing, Brexit positive, anti nat party”.

Michelle Ballantyne also said she’d resign if the prospective leader failed to stick to that pledge.

The South of Scotland MSP, who lost out to Jackson Carlaw in a leadership contest earlier this year, sparked a war of words last week when she said she was glad to see the back of the outgoing party chief.

“I’m happy he’s gone. I never thought he was the right person,” said Ballantyne, who also suggested Carlaw was forced out by Westminster. Party colleague Adam Tomkins responded: “The only thing that we need to remember about Michelle is she was beaten 75/25 in a two horse race by Jackson Carlaw only a few months ago.”

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Now, in a leaked message seen by the Daily Record, Ballantyne has told her allies that her support for leadership candidate Ross is conditional.

She wrote: “I have spent all morning on the phone with regards to the leadership contest – I can’t obviously give you all the detail but I have spoken with key people (not MSPs!) about what is happening and I am now content to back Douglas.

“This is on the understanding that we will be a Centre right Conservative, Boris backing, Brexit positive, anti nat party. And that we will see reform of the cronyism starting with the Candidates Board not being made up of candidates!"

Ballantyne added: “I know this is potentially difficult for some of you but I think right now this is the right decision as we are now incredibly short of time. I have told them that if the party doesn’t reform I will design [sic] so I will back Douglas on the basis of change and judge his performance accordingly.

“That is my personal position – I hope many of you will be able to join me in this view as it is important to understand that this is to get us to and through 2021 - it is not perhaps perfect but under the circumstances nothing would be now and it is not the end of the road as everything will be in play next year and if we get it right there will hopefully be some great new people in Holyrood from this list!”

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The comments have once again angered party colleagues.

A Tory source told the Record: “This is just the latest from Michelle Ballantyne showing how out of touch and self serving she is. Michelle speaks for a tiny faction in the party who got thumped by Jackson just 5 months ago. She is a sore loser.”

An SNP spokesperson added: “While Michelle Ballantyne is quick to change her tune, this shows that even under a change in leadership the Scottish Tories will be the same old party – obsessed with a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote for, no matter the cost to jobs and livelihoods, and happy to follow any orders they get from Number 10.”

As it stands, Ross is the only candidate running to replace Carlaw and could be crowned leader within the next 24 hours.

A spokesman for the MP said: “Douglas is focused on gaining support from across the party and if elected leader will take a strong, positive and united message to the country.”