SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross has said the attitude of his party in London is “making the case for independence” more effectively than the SNP.

In his first major speech since becoming leader, the Moray MP yesterday said many Tories see Scotland leaving the UK as inevitable and want to see a UK Government “focused on England”.

He admitted the Union has often been seen as an “afterthought” by successive governments.

The speech was welcomed by SNP depute leader Keith Brown, who said Ross has had an “overdue epiphany”.

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“Finally, he has woken up to what the SNP has been saying for decades: that successive Tory Governments do not care a jot for Scotland,” he said.

“It’s refreshing to hear a Scottish Tory leader blast his Westminster bosses for continually making and breaking promises year after year after year.

“Ross may have taken his time to get there but now he agrees what Scotland knows to its cost – Westminster Tories simply can’t be trusted.

“But he really should name the worst offenders. Does he mean Johnson, or Gove, or Sunak ... or the entire Cabinet?”

Ross was speaking at a Scottish Conservative fringe event at the national party’s online conference.

In the speech he said: “The case for separation is now being made more effectively in London than it ever could in Edinburgh.

“Defeatism and disinterest towards the future of the Union is rife. Too many treat Scottish independence as a question of when, not if.

“They question why Scottish interests should be put first, if Scotland won’t always be around. Many, including some who govern our country, want to see a UK Government focused on England.

“We pretend these are the views of only a small minority, but I hear them far too often.”

Ross also admitted that despite “bold” promises, the Union “too often becomes an afterthought”.

He said: “In successive governments, it is given warm words and lip service but sadly too often there is little action.”

The SNP depute leader also said some of Ross’s “ramblings” were still as “nonsensical as ever”.

“Far from devolving and forgetting about Scotland, his masters in London are attempting the absolute opposite by trying to claw back powers from the people of Scotland with their disastrous and illegal UK Internal Market Bill,” Brown added.

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said he is aiming to “overtake the Tories” and get into second place in the Scottish Parliament.

In an interview published in the New Statesman last week he said: “I’m not contemplating loss” when asked if he would stay on as leader if Labour fail to hold onto seats in next year’s Holyrood election.