SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson has been accused of lifting another of her defeated rival's ideas in a bid to transform her party.

Ms Davidson's favoured slogan for two recent speeches has been "Scotland First", a slogan coined by Murdo Fraser as an option for a rebranded centre-right outfit, had he won the leadership.

Mr Fraser promised to replace the Tories with a new party and backed extra Holyrood powers during the bitter battle between the two rivals in 2011.

Ms Davidson vowed to keep the Scottish party and said the additional powers that were coming to Holyrood in 2016 amounted to a "line in the sand".

Last week, she performed a U-turn by announcing the creation of a working group on the Parliament's powers.

She argued: "A Parliament with little responsibility for raising the money it spends will never be properly accountable to the people of Scotland. It can never have the proper incentive to cut the size and cost of government, or to reduce tax bills."

Ms Davidson is now under fire over the Scotland First catchphrase she has relied on heavily since the turn of the year.

She mentioned the phrase four times during her speech and it was also used by the party as its Twitter hashtag on the day.

The title of her first speech that addressed the issue of extra powers, delivered in January, was also Scotland First.

An adviser to her working group even referred to the "Scotland First commission".

However, the phrase was also identified by Mr Fraser's camp as one of three potential names for his new party, the others being the Scottish Reform Party and The Caledonians.

A source close to Mr Fraser said: "Scotland First was a leading contender for our name. We've been candid internally about that since. It was known."

The apparent embrace of Mr Fraser's agenda has been criticised by former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth, whose support for Ms Davidson was seen as a pivotal moment during the contest.

He said last week: "It's grossly irresponsible to talk about giving more tax powers without producing some numbers to show the effect on public services."

An SNP spokesman said: "With Ruth Davidson's line in the sand washed away and Murdo Fraser's proposed party name now pinched, people in the Tory party could be forgiven for thinking they had actually voted Murdo First."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "The official position of Murdo's campaign team during the leadership election was to let the membership decide on a new name if they voted to dissolve the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

"Ruth is putting Scotland first in all the decisions she takes as leader and that's why it was the theme of her most recent speech."

However, Jeremy Purvis, of the Devo Plus group campaigning for greater devolution of powers to Holyrood in the event of a No vote next year, called on Conservatives to rally round Ms Davidson's new position rather than concentrating on battles of over a year ago.

He said: "On this issue it's now clear there has been an evolution of Ms Davidson's position and that means she is showing leadership in realising her party has to get involved in this debate.

"The fact that Conservatives are looking at further powers just 14 months after the leadership contest is now putting them at the centre of this debate, which is better than being excluded from it."

Senior Conservative Alex Fergusson straddles both Devo Plus and Ms Davidson's new group looking at future Tory policy, and Mr Purvis said this showed progress.

He said: "I have said let's look relentlessly forward."