SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson has been accused of selling-out Remain voters, after she unveiled a squad of politicians and business leaders in her bid to kibosh SNP calls for a second referendum on independence.

Davidson announced the new panel during a speech on Brexit to diplomats at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London.

The group has been established to to examine “how best to ensure Scotland, as part of the UK, manages both the risks and opportunities of its post-EU future.”

In her speech, Davidson made clear what she expected the group to do: “I think the Scottish Government has got it wrong in its response to the Brexit vote.

“The First Minister tried to use the vote to create a bow wave surge for independence. It hasn’t worked but I don’t think the SNP will stop trying.

“And sadly, in our judgement, the push for separation will continue to be the main priority for the SNP Government as we head into Brexit discussions – and not the best interests of Scotland and the United Kingdom.

“So while I will continue to support the Scottish Government’s involvement in Brexit discussions, I am also announcing today that the Scottish Conservatives will form our own expert group to assess the risks and opportunities of Brexit for Scotland.”

There are two MSPs on the group, Adam Tomkins who voted to Remain and Alexander Stewart, who backed Leave at the referendum.

Former head of CBI Scotland, Sir Iain McMillan, Gavin Hewitt, the former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, Rhona Irving, formerly tax partner at PWC and Alan Hogarth, of AH Strategies Ltd make up the rest of the panel.

Davidson said she expected them to report to her on “how best they believe Brexit can deliver for Scotland and – crucially – for the entire United Kingdom.

“We believe that Scotland’s interests are not served by constantly trying to pick apart the United Kingdom. We believe that Scotland’s best interests are served by ensuring the strength and durability of the entire United Kingdom of which we are a key part.”

A spokesman for Michael Russell, the minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe, said the Tories had made an enormous U-turn.

“This is a sell-out of enormous proportions even for Ruth Davidson and her increasingly right-wing Tories," he said. "Only three months ago Ruth Davidson branded the claims of the Brexit campaign as lies that would be deeply damaging to our economy and our society. With this U-turn it is clear the Tories simply cannot be trusted to protect Scotland’s interests.

“Scotland’s Tories are simply acting as a smoke screen for a UK Tory Government that cannot answer a single question about what Brexit means and who are putting jobs, investment and Scotland’s economy at risk. Perhaps Ms Davidson can answer the key question that the Prime Minister couldn’t: does she believe the UK should continue in the single market – yes or no?

“If the Tories want to be useful they should be demanding the right for EU citizens to remain in the UK instead of insulting them, backing our businesses by arguing for continued membership of the single market and supporting Scottish Government calls for all EU funding to be honoured by the UK Government.

“What the people of Scotland voted for is to remain in the EU, and unlike Ruth Davidson the First Minister has made clear that we will explore all options to do that and to protect our relationship with Europe.”

Scottish Tory leader accused of ‘enormous U-Turn’ on Europe

RUTH DAVIDSON has again declined to apologise for her party’s suggestion that EU citizens living in Scotland had no right to be involved in public life.

French-born former MSP Christian Allard was dismissed by the Tory party after he reported Aberdeenshire West Tory MSP Alexander Burnett to the Standards Commissioner for failing to disclose his business interests when raising objections against a rival property developer in the Scottish Parliament. The Tory press office said that it was “bizarre that an EU citizen has an interest in a planning application in Banchory.”

Yesterday Sturgeon sent a letter to Davidson asking her to apologise and withdraw the remark.

The FM wrote: “If you ultimately fail to publicly withdraw the comment and apologise for it, then the only conclusion people will be able to draw is that you – and the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party as a whole – are content for such sentiments to be part of public debate in Scotland.”

When asked about the letter and if she would apologise during her speech at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Davidson did not answer.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “Ruth Davidson clearly thinks that she can simply brazen this out, but politicians have a duty to set the tone.’’