THE Scottish Tories have insisted Liz Truss will undermine the Union if she becomes Prime Minister and set back the party's recovery north of the border.

The six Scottish MPs and 31 MSPs are currently split on who to support in the leadership race, with West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, Highland MSP Donald Cameron and mid-Scotland MSP Dean Lockhart throwing their weight behind Rishi Sunak, while others have chosen to support Penny Mordaunt including Berwickshire, Roxburgh, and Selkirk MP John Lamont and Glasgow MSP Annie Wells. 

Stephen Kerr, the Central Scotland MSP, wants Tom Tugendhat to be PM, while Rachael Hamilton, a Borders MSP, is positive about Kemi Badenoch.

What is clear is Truss seems to be least favoured among the group,  with sources suggesting she is "too close to Boris" and "too right-wing", according to The Times

However, the Foreign Secretary could easily make it into the final two to face the verdict of the Tory membership, where she would likely come up against Sunak who is almost certain to attract more than the 120 MP votes necessary for the last round.

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Her closeness to Boris Johnson and her position on the right could in fact be exactly what she needs to draw support from members, many of which are still in favour of the political direction Johnson was taking the party.

So far only one MSP, Dumfriesshire’s Oliver Mundell, said he was “leaning towards Liz Truss”.

Whoever wins, the Scottish party leader Douglas Ross has signalled there will be no change in the party’s opposition to another independence referendum. 

He said: “The party has been consistent on independence, and all of the candidates are more than aware of this, with the challenges that need to be addressed.

"This is not the time to be wasting time, effort, energy and public money on a referendum.”

Meanwhile, Bowie said that as leader, Sunak would continue to bypass Holyrood to give cash to councils and other bodies because “we cannot trust the SNP to act in the best interests of the Scottish people”.

Bowie added Sunak’s camp was “confident but not complacent” and would focus on tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

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He said: “With more than a hundred MPs’ votes, we are where we wanted to be. We have the best plan to get down inflation and to win a general election.”

One senior party source said “anyone but Boris” should be better for Tory fortunes north of the border, with Johnson often described as a 'recruiting sergeant' for independence.

Lamont said momentum remained with Mordaunt, but there was a long way to go.

Fellow Mordaunt backer Wells said: “We need stability at the heart of government and she will be steadfast in her belief in the UK.”

The SNP maintains that all five candidates are out of tune with Scottish opinion and continue to deny democracy over a referendum, but some nationalists believe that a Truss victory and her association with Johnson would play most to their advantage.

Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP, said all five candidates were “disasters”.