SENIOR figures in the Scottish Tories are pushing for the party to “move on” from its hardline anti-indyref2 stance, according to reports.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has come under fire from within in his own ranks after a dismal local election result saw them lose 63 council seats across Scotland – with Holyrood’s other four main parties all making gains.

Ross had pointed the finger at Boris Johnson’s criminal behaviour for the losses but evidence suggests his U-turns and inconsistency also impacted on the vote.

Polling for Savanta ComRes before the elections found 12% of Tory voters said they were less likely to back the party because of Ross’s flip-flopping.

READ MORE: Tories suffer blow in Edinburgh as party slips from second to fifth

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan wrote on Twitter: “Tories lost [one-fifth of] first preference votes from 2017. Assuming those Tory voters who reacted negatively to Ross's U-turn didn't vote for them, they account for roughly *half* of the votes lost.”

“Tories don't just have a Boris Johnson problem, they have a Douglas Ross problem,” he added.

Senior Scottish Tory MSP Liz Smith (below) also addressed Ross’s inconsistency, saying: “Douglas will have to explain why he is defending him as prime minister but blaming him for the [poor local election] result. Douglas will have to explain the two sides of that coin.”

The National:

Under Ross’s leadership, the Scottish Tories have focused heavily on blocking a second independence referendum, and then claimed elections lost on that ticket had little to do with the constitution.

The latest local elections are just one example, with Ross telling the Scottish Daily Mail ahead of the council vote that it was a chance to “put the final nail in the coffin” of indyref2.

Reports say that pressure is building within the Scottish Tories to abandon this line. One party source told The Times: “We need to move on from ‘no to indyref2’. Even I’m bored of it now.”

Several MSPs and party figures spoke to that paper anonymously to criticise the party’s stance, with one elected representative saying voters were “disengaged” with their focus on the constitution, adding: “I couldn’t fight another election campaign on it. I just couldn’t.”

The Scottish Tories did make gains in four areas: Moray, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, and North Ayrshire.

Their result – of 214 councillors returned – was also their second-best in Scottish local elections. Nonetheless, the Scottish Tory leader described the result as “disappointing”.

Ross shifted the blame onto Johnson, saying the Prime Minister “can’t ignore the message sent from voters”.

Although he has not yet openly U-turned on his U-turn and called for Johnson to quit once again, Ross has suggested that he is not ruling out a no confidence vote.