A FORMER Conservative MSP has said she will not be backing Liz Truss in the party’s leadership contest after her “inappropriate” comment about ignoring Nicola Sturgeon.

Mary Scanlon, who served as a Tory member for the Highlands and Islands region between 1999 and 2016, called in to BBC Radio Scotland to express her frustration over the leadership hopeful’s attitude towards Scotland’s First Minister.

The 75-year-old said after the Foreign Secretary’s comments during the hustings on Monday she considers her “completely finished”.

Truss received huge amounts of applause from the Conservative members in the audience when she described Sturgeon as an “attention seeker” who should be ignored.

The National:

The comment was met with anger in Scotland, with deputy first minister John Swinney calling the language “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

Scanlon told presenter Kaye Adams that she is awaiting the post worker delivering her leadership contest vote so she can make her disappointment with the comments known.

“I’m what they would call a floating voter,” the former MSP told listeners. “I was actually veering towards Rishi, I like his economic policy, but I felt in recent days he’s been losing a wee bit of sparkle. So I was beginning to consider Liz Truss and to be quite honest, as far as I’m concerned, she’s completely finished.”

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Scanlon went on to compare Truss’s approach to a leader she doesn’t like with former prime minister Theresa May’s attitude towards Donald Trump.

“If you remember when Donald Trump took office people were saying why do you talk to him?” she recalled. “And what Theresa May said was he holds the office of the president of the United States. So basically what she was saying was she doesn’t have to respect him, but she did respect the office.”

Scanlon went on: “I think what’s happened with Liz Truss is she’s crossed a line.

"What she has to remember is people like myself who’ve been around the block for a while, what we’re looking for after three years of Boris and his off-the-cuff comments, and Peppa the Pig and all these silly remarks, we’re looking for someone with maturity and someone that is much more statesmanlike than Boris, though he did do a lot of good things.

“I think what Liz Truss said was inappropriate and it didn’t belong to this debate. And I think she’s probably lost one vote which is maybe not much in the grand scale, but it certainly changed my vote.”

The National:

Her intervention comes after Swinney said that whatever people’s politics in Scotland are, they will be “horrified” by Truss’s comments.

He told the BBC: “The Unionist campaigners suggest Scotland should be at the heart of the United Kingdom, and how Scotland can be expected to be at the heart of the UK 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.

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

Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, added that Truss has shown “total disrespect” to the First Minister and “a contempt for everyone that voted for a pro-independence majority of MSPs in last year’s election”.

“She knows that the democratic case for a referendum is unanswerable, so she would rather patronise us and ignore us,” she said.

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But one Tory MSP, the party’s Covid recovery spokesperson Murdo Fraser, called the anger “manufactured”.

Fraser told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that Sturgeon “does not speak for the Scottish majority” on the topic of independence.

“Let’s just remember that, according to polling, barely a third, if that, of the Scottish population support an independence referendum on the timescale being proposed by Nicola Sturgeon,” he said, adding that Truss “is far more in tune with the majority of Scottish opinion” on the matter.

The most recent polling on Scottish independence has around a 50/50 split between Yes and No.