MORE Scottish Tory MSPs than ever before support splitting from the UK party to create their own independent outfit, according to a former Conservative communications boss.

Writing in The National’s sister paper, The Herald, Andy Maciver claimed that the flow of scandals from Downing Street was fuelling the sentiment, suggesting that Scottish Tories were sick of having their fortunes so closely tied to Boris Johnson’s party.

Maciver, now a media commentator and director at PR consultancy Message Matters, wrote: “It is a truism of life as a Scottish Tory that, no matter how hard you work or how well you do, your support is largely dictated by the popularity, or otherwise, of the party in London.

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“This is why, from time to time, people like me suggest that the only way for Scotland’s centre-right to become a credible governing force, akin to other centre-right parties all over the world, is for it to form its own party, separate from the Westminster Tories.

“There has never been a time when more Tory MSPs have told me, privately, that they agree. Perhaps 2022 will, finally, be the year of change.”

Maciver suggested that the litany of scandals around Johnson’s administration was to blame for the rise in support for a breakaway Tory party.

He pointed to: “The Downing Street flat renovations. The Peppa Pig speech. The Owen Paterson debacle and the resultant loss of the by-election. Most damagingly, the Downing Street Christmas parties, which has seen crisis communication at its worst.”

In the wake of the Owen Paterson scandal, Tory MSPs attacked Johnson for causing such an "embarrassment".

One told The National: "There will be a feeling of wanting to say ‘we’re the Scottish party. It’s not us!’ But it’s ­really hard."

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Before he lost out to Ruth Davidson in the 2011 Scottish Tory leadership election, Murdo Fraser (above) had pledged to split the party from its UK bosses should he win.

Davidson entered the race opposing this idea, and her win ensured the party remained tied to Boris Johnson’s. Fraser remains an influential figure among Douglas Ross’s Tory MSPs, while Davidson has dropped out of elected politics, taking a seat in the House of Lords.

Maciver has previously said the Scottish Tory MSPs privately concede that the results of the Holyrood election in May amount to a mandate for a second independence referendum - even if they will not say so in public.