RUTH Davidson has acknowledged that her sensational Holyrood surge came thanks to a coalition of blue-collar voters who may not have dreamt of backing her party before.

The Scottish Conservative leader, who achieved a previously unthinkable tally of more than one million votes and will lead a bloc of 30 other MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, said she would put the concerns of her new supporters over party interest to deliver on her promise of effectively holding the SNP to account.

She vowed to give a voice to everybody who felt the Scottish Government is not delivering for them after her brand of working class conservatism was embraced across the country, as she increased the vote of a party that had previously been considered toxic north of the border by 16 per cent.

It came as some bookmakers slashed their odds of Ms Davidson becoming the next UK Tory leader to as little as 16/1, despite her insistence that she does not want the job.

Appearing in front of journalists and a handful of supporters at an Edinburgh hotel, she recalled that less than five years ago, when she became leader, people had compared her task of leading the Scottish Conservatives to "resuscitating a corpse" before adding, "some corpse".

She said: "We will seek to give a voice to all those who feel the Government is not fully addressing their concerns. I know very well that many thousands of people who backed me and my team are not dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives. They simply wanted somebody - anybody - to do a job for them in the parliament of holding the SNP to account."

Directly addressing those who had not previously voted Tory but were convinced by the leader's pitch, she added: "Today I promise to work for you. To put your concerns first - not those of my party.

"To focus on the job you have asked us to do. To ensure your voice is heard by this new SNP Government. To speak up for you in saying No to a second referendum. To ensure we move forward as a country.

"Opposing where necessary, offering alternatives where right, and always challenging the SNP to do better. All with a simple aim. That, in five years time, we have more to look back on than the tatters of a divisive referendum.

"That, in five years' time, we can say we have made all the difference. I am so proud of the campaign we have run and the shift my team put in. For my part, it is time to get back to work."

Speaking in December, 150 days out from the Holyrood election, Ms Davidson played down her chances of unseating Labour and said she hoped to return the highest cohort of Tory MSPs ever, meaning she would have had to return only 19 to meet her target.

As she grew in confidence, she said she had set her sights on leading the second-largest party at Holyrood, a goal many observers thought unlikely. In the end, she emerged with 31 seats, comfortably beating Labour.

Before Thursday the Conservatives believed 25 seats would be a "brilliant" night for them, with the final tally exceeding even party insiders' widest expectations.

A senior Tory source said: "The parliament has become interesting again, it's gone back to operating the way it should. We said all along we would provide strong opposition to and scrutiny of an SNP government and in a way we've done that already by denying them a majority.

"That will be good for parliament and it will be good for the SNP. One of the reasons people did not vote for them was because they saw them as domineering and arrogant. People felt they did not have a voice. Well, now they do."

Ms Davidson has said she was particularly proud of winning two MSPs through the Glasgow regional list, a city traditionally heavily hostile to the Tories but where it earned 30,000 list votes.

One of her new MSPs for Glasgow, Annie Wells, is a food retail manager and single mother from the city's East End who Ms Davidson has described as "phenomenal".

The triumphant leader and former BBC reporter said three-quarters of her new MSPs have never served in a parliament before and added: "I look forward to the five years ahead. I have a big job to do, I've got an awful lot of people who probably can't find the canteen at Holyrood, never mind their office, so I'm going to go and settle them in."