KEIR Starmer looks to Nicola Sturgeon “for inspiration”, Douglas Ross has alleged, claiming that you “can’t fit a hair” between Labour and the SNP on policy.

In response, the SNP have said that it is actually the Tories and Labour which are “joined at the hip” on key issues such as Brexit and whether Scotland should have a second independence vote.

The Scottish Tory leader’s accusations, which began the political row, came as his party trailed the new year speech which he will make in Edinburgh on Friday.

The speech will also contain an admission that the Conservatives have “not lived up to expectations” during a “difficult” year which saw three separate Tory prime ministers try to lead an increasingly divided party.

READ MORE: SNP condemn Rishi Sunak's anti-strike laws 'in strongest possible terms'

But, Ross is to claim that Rishi Sunak’s leadership has brought a return to “quiet competency” from the Tory government at Westminster. “Our focus, as a UK and Scottish party, must be on working to re-earn trust,” he will say.

On the topic of other parties, the Scottish Tory leader will accuse his Labour counterpart, Anas Sarwar (below), of being “opposition to the SNP in name only”.

Ross is to say: “Anas Sarwar has claimed that he has brought his party back onto the pitch, yet Labour are now playing for Team Sturgeon.

The National: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 09: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar makes a speech to Party candidates and activists following the local council elections on May 09, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. Scottish Labour added 20 council seats in last week's local

“Nicola Sturgeon faced more opposition in the passing of her Gender Recognition Reform Bill from SNP backbenchers than she did from Anas Sarwar and his party.

“On North Sea jobs, on prisoner voting, on rent controls, on the future of Scottish education and on Covid laws – Labour backed the nationalist position.

“And at Westminster, Labour MPs abstained in the face of an SNP attempt to secure a second independence referendum.

“Even more incredibly, Keir Starmer actually looks to Nicola Sturgeon’s government for inspiration. He has said that a UK Labour Government would introduce their own Hate Crime Act and GRR Bill.

“There is no need for a post-election pact – a Sturgeon-Starmer alliance already exists. You can’t fit a hair between Labour and the SNP.”

READ MORE: Starmer's speech proves Labour are 'carbon-copy' of Tories on Brexit, say SNP

In a show of Boris Johnson-style “cakeism”, Ross will also use his speech to pledge lower taxes but better public services under a Scottish Tory-run Holyrood.

In response, the SNP suggested that Ross should “reflect on why it is his party that so often finds themselves isolated on the political stage”.

Paul McLennan MSP told The National: "Douglas Ross only needs to take a look in the mirror to see which party is in cahoots with Labour, given that it was himself and Anas Sarwar who presided over grubby deals between Labour and the Tories after last year's council elections.

“The Tories and Labour are also joined at the hip in their anti-democratic blocking of Scotland’s right to choose our own future, just as they were back in 2014. Worst of all, they are cheek-by-jowl on Brexit – each is as bad as the other in ignoring what Scotland voted for and what is good for our economy and society.

"The Scottish Tory leader also needs to reflect on why it is his party that so often finds themselves isolated on the political stage, rather than pointing the finger at everyone else.

"The SNP continues to win the trust of the people of Scotland at successive elections and will get on with the job of delivering for Scotland."

The Scottish Tory leader’s new year’s speech will come in the wake of similar speeches made by UK party leaders Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak.

Prime Minister Sunak made “five flimsy promises” including halving inflation – which has been forecast to happen anyway – stopping the Channel crossings, and reducing UK debt.

Starmer in his address co-opted the Brexiteer “Take Back Control” slogan, pledging to use it as the name of a bill which would see extensive devolution of powers away from Westminster.