THE "primary contest of ideas in our country is now between the SNP and the hard right Tories" Nicola Sturgeon said as she launched a scathing attack on senior Westminster figures.

The First Minister made the claims in her closing speech to the SNP conference where she claimed supporters of Ukip's Nigel Farage were now more influential than pro-EU Tories such as David Cameron.

She told party members that the SNP was the only credible alternative and opposition to right-wing politicians at Westminster.

Sturgeon said: "Let me be crystal clear about this – Scotland cannot trust the likes of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox to represent us."

She added: "The primary contest of ideas in our country is now between the SNP and the hard-right Tories. The Cameroons have fallen to the Faragistas – and let's face it, the Cameroons were never very appealing in the first place."

Setting out the SNP's alternative vision, she said: "If you remember just one word from my speech today, I want it to be this one. It begins with an 'i'. No, not that one. Not yet. The word I want you to remember is this - inclusion. Inclusion is the guiding principle for everything we do.

"It encapsulates what we stand for as a party and it describes the kind of country we want Scotland to be. An inclusive country."

Sturgeon also used her address to the 3,000 delegates to set out a four-point plan to boost trade and exports.

The plan will include a new "board of trade" to draw on business expertise, a trade envoy scheme to recruit prominent Scottish business leaders, a permanent trade and innovation hub in Berlin, as well as doubling the number of Scottish Development International staff working across Europe.

A key political ally of former First Minister Alex Salmond survived an electoral challenge yesterday to retain her place on the party’s governing body.

MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh defeated Westminster colleague Angela Crawley to again become the Women’s and Equalities Convener on the national executive committee.

Ahmed-Sheikh, who like Crawley was first elected to the House of Commons last year, had the staunch support of Salmond.

In a tweet on Friday, Salmond wrote that he was “proud” to endorse her re-election bid.

Sheikh said yesterday: “Thanks to everyone at #SNP16 for their votes and support to be re-elected as National Women's & Equalities Convener.”