DOUGLAS Ross unwittingly summed up the Scottish Tories’ problem “in a nutshell” today, according to the Finance Secretary.

Kate Forbes was responding to a quote from the MP for Moray, in which he appeared to take credit for the UK Government’s U-turn on the furlough scheme.

Earlier today UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that furloughed staff would be paid 80% of their wages until March 2021.

Originally it had been due to end on October 31, before being extended through November to cover England’s coronavirus lockdown.

The SNP have been calling for the U-turn for months, with the party’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss saying today it felt like she had been saying the same thing for the last six months.

Thewliss added: "The reality is that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England have been dingied by this Chancellor until he was forced to lock down in England."

READ MORE: The Douglas Ross effect: Tories set for third place at next Holyrood election

On November 2, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford pointed out: “Since the start of September I have asked the Prime Minister on no less than six separate occasions to extend the furlough scheme. And yet, every time the Prime Minister rejected that call.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have also made calls for an extension to the furlough scheme over the past half a year.

However, Douglas Ross ignored this, and claimed the pressure applied by the Scottish Tories “since the weekend” was the reason the furlough has been extended.

At Westminster, Ross voted against a Labour motion which proposed extending the furlough scheme on September 9, 2020.

On September 17, Tory MSPs at Holyrood, including Ruth Davidson, voted against calls to extend furlough.

Today, Ross said: “I have consistently made the case since the weekend that jobs in Moray and across Scotland had to be protected at all costs.

“I am very pleased to see that the Scottish Conservative pressure has now delivered.”

Finance Secretary Forbes took exception to Ross’s claims, tweeting in reply to Ross’s statement: “The problem in a nutshell [pointing emoji].

“Tories confess they only started to call for jobs to be protected and furlough to be extended at the weekend.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak set to extend UK Government furlough scheme until March

“The rest of us were making the case months ago, not days ago.

“The result is welcome, but well overdue.”

Former Labour MP Paul Sweeney was one of the many to join Forbes in condemning Ross’s comments.

Sweeney wrote: “We've known since March that a comprehensive furlough scheme was needed, and that it would be necessary for at least a year.

“This is what happens when trivial leadership governs with short-term reaction, rather than on the basis of a long-term economic and public health strategy.”