TORY leadership hopeful Liz Truss has been slammed for falsely claiming the Scottish Government is using its “entire resources” on campaigning for independence.

The Foreign Secretary has been accused of lying over the claims made at a party hustings in Cardiff on Wednesday night.

She told the audience: “What's happening in Scotland is the entire resources of the Scottish Government are being used to run essentially an independence campaign, and I think that is grossly irresponsible.”

The Scottish Government revealed earlier this year it had allocated £20 million of its budget to the effort to secure a second referendum – around 0.02% of the total public spend in Scotland in 2020-21.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the spend represents just 0.05% of the total Scottish Government budget.

Some 11 civil servants are dedicated to working on independence within the Scottish Government – just 0.16% of the core civil service staff.

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Anum Qaisar (above), SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts, said: “There’s no ‘fresh start’ after Boris - they’re a bunch of crooks and liars.”

The First Minister has previously defended the spend on independence planning as good value for money, saying it would allow “the people of Scotland an opportunity to choose a better future at this particular moment in time”.

She added: “UK Government decisions have cut our budget this year by more than five per cent in real terms, they will constrain growth in our budget over the next four years to 2% while inflation is close to 10%. Inflation in the UK, of course, which thanks to the folly of Brexit, is the highest of any G7 country.

“Every year right now, the Scottish Government is having to invest more than £700m mitigating the impact of Westminster policies that Scotland did not vote for.

“I think that £20m, 0.05 per cent, one half of one-tenth of one per cent, of the entire Scottish Government budget, to give the people of this country the opportunity to choose a better future, is and will be a really good investment.”

It is not the first time Truss has come under fire for making misleading statements during the campaign.

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She was criticised after she wrongly said she was being “wilfully misrepresented” by the media over her proposed policy to set up regional pay boards to lower civil servants’ pay outside of London.

Her team had suggested the policy in a press release and then performed a U-turn. 

ITV political editor Robert Peston sniped: "It turns out Liz Truss willfully misrepresented her own public sector pay proposals."

SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart James Dornan said Truss, who previously said she would “ignore” Sturgeon if she became Prime Minister, was “mentally and instinctively incapable of telling the truth” about Scotland.

Siobhian Brown, the SNP MSP for Ayr, said: "Every day that passes sees Liz Truss exposes her complete and utter ignorance of Scotland. 

“The people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for an independence referendum and the Scottish Government is using just 0.05% of the Scottish budget to deliver that – a sum that is dwarfed by the billions that the Tories’ shambolic Brexit is costing every year."

Truss came under fire for her comments from across the political spectrum and later walked them back by claiming she meant she would only “ignore” the First Minister on matters relating to independence.

It comes amid swirling speculation around who could serve in a future Truss-led Cabinet as she continues to lead in polls of Tory members ahead of rival Rishi Sunak.

Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who oversaw the coalition government’s draconian overhaul of the benefits system, is in line to take on the role of chief whip, should Truss become the next Prime Minister, reports The Sun.

And former Scottish secretary David Mundell could reprise that role after he announced he was backing Truss in a comment piece in Thursday’s Daily Mail.

He wrote: “I know how deeply and personally – from her own life experience as a ‘child of the Union’, growing up in Paisley and Leeds – she feels that unique connection we have across our United Kingdom.”

Truss's campaign was approached for comment.