Jeremy Hunt is hopeful of “running up a big win” in Scotland after a snap survey conducted by his campaign suggested he had majority support among Scottish Conservative councillors.

As both candidates in the Tory leadership contest prepare for the one and only live television head-to-head before a studio audience on ITV tonight, their camps exchanged accusations of “betrayal” as the Foreign Secretary pledged to ensure the UK would leave the EU’s hated Common Fisheries Policy[CFP] by December 2020.

His camp - which has already boasted majority support among Scottish Tory MSPs, including leader Ruth Davidson, and has the backing of most MPs, who have declared a public preference - told The Herald its survey of more than 100 councillors following last week’s Perth hustings showed 69 had swung behind Mr Hunt as opposed to 36, who said their preference was for Boris Johnson.

A campaign source said: “All the indications in Scotland and across the UK are that more and more Conservatives are moving towards Jeremy Hunt.

"The vast majority of Scottish Conservative MSPs are backing Jeremy and it looks like the same picture across the wider party. We're hopeful of running up a big win for Jeremy north of the border," he added.

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: Hunt in the lead in ScotlandCamley's Cartoon: Hunt in the lead in Scotland

Meanwhile, Borders backbencher John Lamont, Mr Hunt’s Scotland campaign manager, stressed how Mr Johnson had said he was willing to extend the post-Brexit Implementation Period to 2021 but made clear keeping the UK in the CFP would be “completely unacceptable” for Scotland’s fishermen.

“Anything less than leaving the CFP by December 2020 would be a betrayal of Scotland,” declared Mr Lamont.

But the Johnson camp hit back, insisting Brexit by October 31 was necessary to regain control of UK fishing waters. “This is the only way we avoid a betrayal of the people," it said.