A Scottish Labour candidate at last year’s general election has quit the party and defected to the Conservatives.

Braden Davy, who took on Alex Salmond in the Gordon constituency, said one of the reasons he left was the party’s perceived softness on independence.

Scottish Labour has hemorrhaged votes to the SNP since the 2014 referendum, losing all but one of their MPs at last Westminster poll.

May’s Holyrood election also showed that the party was losing support to the Conservatives, whose staunch pro-Union position proved popular.

Davey worked in the office of Anne Begg, at that point the Labour MP for Aberdeen South, and was an enthusiastic Westminster candidate.

A 2015 election leaflet proclaimed: “Only Labour can stop the Tories.”

It also stated: “In Gordon, the only way to make sure the Tories don’t form the next Government is to vote Scottish Labour.”

However, he has since become disillusioned with the party.

He became assistant director of Scottish Vote Leave, the official campaign group that backed Bexit.

Next to a picture of Labour-supporting transvestite Eddie Izzard, he wrote sarcastically:

“I just don’t understand why Labour can’t connect to the working class anymore.”

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Davy said he backed Labour during the Holyrood election campaign but quit after the EU referendum.

He had two reasons for joining the Tories: Labour’s EU position; and the party’s stance on independence

He said: “Labour’s attitude on the EU was belittling and patronising.”

Davey, who is also a Royal Navy reserve, said: “After the [EU] referendum, Ruth Davidson respected the vote but some people in Labour decided to back independence.”

He continued: “Labour is weak on independence. It is no longer strong on the constitutional question. It doesn’t seem unwavering.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was criticised during the campaign after saying it was “not inconceivable” she could back independence if it secured Scotland’s place in the EU.

The remark sent Labour into a tailspin and helped the Tories.

Alan Massie, a party donor, has since said Dugdale has to “do more” to back the Union.

She has since written a piece in a daily newspaper opposing a second independence referendum.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said:

"The message sent to Labour during the Scottish election was clear, they are very much now a bit-part player.

"Now, with more people leaving Labour to come to us, we're in a better position than ever to be the strong opposition people elected us to be."

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "Labour are the only party in Scotland arguing for what the majority of Scots want - being part of the UK and maintaining our relationship with Europe."