Ruth Davidson has taken a swipe at frustrated Tory colleagues who refuse to hit the streets and campaign ahead of the upcoming European elections.

The Scottish Tory leader insisted: “Just because the fight’s harder that means that you have to fight harder, it doesn’t mean you give up.”

It came as she urged wavering voters “to start walking back to the middle” and spurn Nigel Farage’s newly created Brexit Party.

Ms Davidson made the comments as she visited Deanston Distillery in Doune, near Stirling, to launch her party’s campaign ahead of the European polls.

She said: “This is my seventh election campaign I’ve led the Scottish Conservatives into and I’ve led us through two referenda as well, so I love a campaign. I will be attacking it with my same vim and vigour.

“I would say to some colleagues down south who are perhaps choosing not to campaign that I think that’s pretty disappointing.

“I think that as Conservatives and in the privileged position that we are, to be elected to parliament and be in leadership positions, it’s our job to lead.”

She later insisted “the only way that you can attract people to your banner is if you promote that banner”.

She added: “So for any of my colleagues down south who are thinking of perhaps sitting this one out I would ask them to reconsider because I genuinely believe that we as a party, as individuals, as people in leadership positions, as elected representatives should take every opportunity we are given to go and bang the drum at election time.”

It follows reports frustrated Tory activists and Eurosceptic MPs such as Boris Johnson are refusing to campaign ahead of the elections on May 23.

Meanwhile, polls have shown the Brexit Party racing ahead while the Tory vote slumps amid widespread dissatisfaction over the Government’s handling of Brexit.

Speaking to journalists, Ms Davidson called on those who are considering supporting Mr Farage’s new party to back the Tories instead next week.

Asked why her party had not produced a manifesto, she said it was “very clear” it is campaigning to leave the EU “in an orderly fashion”.

She said a vote for the Scottish Tories is also “to say no” to Nicola Sturgeon’s drive to overturn the result of the EU referendum and hold another vote on Scottish independence.