TORY leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has claimed it is best to ignore Nicola Sturgeon, calling the First Minister an “attention seeker”.

The Foreign Secretary, who polling suggests is likely to become the next prime minister, criticised the SNP leader before once again ruling out a second independence referendum.

Truss, speaking at a hustings event in Exeter, referenced growing up in Paisley before saying: “I feel like I’m a child of the Union, I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together and I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.”

READ MORE: 'No second Scottish independence referendum on my watch', Liz Truss insists

Tory members cheered and applauded the comment, with the Foreign Secretary adding: “She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.

“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our Government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.”

She replied “no, no, no” when asked about another independence referendum in Scotland if she becomes prime minister.

The comments caused outrage, with condemnation pouring in from Scottish politicians as "Nicola Sturgeon" began trending on Twitter.

SNP MP Chris Law, posting on the social media site while sharing a video of Truss’s remarks, said: “The only reason why Scotland needs independence. Utter contempt from the future PM.”

SNP MSP Paul McLennan added: "Democracy is dead in Scotland."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell commented that "ignoring democracy rarely ends well".

Janey Godley, the Scots comic, shared a photo of Truss riding a tank and waving a Union flag. She wrote: "Nicola Sturgeon is an attention seeker according to Liz Truss whose party hasn’t won an election in Scotland in over 60 years."

Adam Bienkov, the Byline Times journalist, shared further images of Truss, quipping: "Nicola Sturgeon is 'an attention-seeker' says the notoriously publicity-shy politician Liz Truss."

Speaking on the BBC, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said "people in Scotland, whatever their politics, will be horrified by the obnoxious remarks".

The SNP MSP went on: "The Unionist campaigners suggest that Scotland should be at the heart of the United Kingdom.

"How Scotland can be expected to be at the heart of the United Kingdom when the democratically elected leader of our country is – in the view of the person most likely to be the next prime minister of the UK – somebody that should be ignored is completely and utterly unacceptable.

"So, I think Liz Truss has with one silly, intemperate intervention, fundamentally undermined the argument that she tries to put forward, that Scotland somehow can be fairly and well treated at the heart of the United Kingdom."

The comments from the Foreign Secretary came just hours after nine Tory MSPs put their names to a claim that Scotland would be "at the heart of the Union under Truss".

Elsewhere at the hustings, Truss declined to give details about the most embarrassing thing she has done in her life.

She said: “Honestly? My daughters will be watching this and I absolutely am not going to say.”

Asked if she is a person of faith and practises religion regularly, Truss said: “I share the values of the Christian faith and the Church of England, but I’m not a regular practising religious person.”

Tory leadership rival Rishi Sunak said on the same question: “I’m a practising Hindu and that’s how we’ve raised our kids.

“Just a few weeks ago I was back at my temple in Southampton where I grew up, every year we have a family prayer day where we cook lunch and serve it to the community, and it was a very special part of how I was brought up and a special part of how I live my life today.”

Sunak, on what he would do if not a politician, said: “If I could run Southampton Football Club, I’d be a very happy man.”