Nervous Scottish Conservatives are urging Boris Johnson to go for a spring General Election to avoid Scotland’s wintry weather and to take electoral advantage of “SNP turmoil” surrounding the forthcoming Alex Salmond trial.

The plea to the Prime Minister came as the party’s annual conference in Manchester heard another major spending announcement: a plan to raise the national living wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024 unveiled by Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, as he sought to move the conference spotlight away from allegations surrounding Mr Johnson's private life.

The further sign that an election is on its way has prompted Scottish Tory MPs to urge the PM to rule out a December poll and wait until next year to go to the country, preferably in the spring.

READ MORE: Opposition parties reject SNP's bid for snap no-confidence vote as rift remains

Some party insiders argue that, apart from avoiding the effects of a bad winter in Scotland, holding an election in March 2020 could bring electoral benefits for the Conservatives in their battle with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP following the high-profile Salmond court case.

One senior Scottish Tory source told The Herald: “Irrespective of the outcome of the trial, the Nationalists will be in turmoil.”

In his set-piece speech, Mr Javid told conference that his "ambitious" proposal - which as well as a rise in the amount of the living wage would also see the age threshold lowered to cover all workers aged over 21 - would give four million people a pay rise.

He explained he wanted the national living wage to be raised to match two-thirds of median earnings, which would represent a 95p hourly increase in 2024.

"Over the next five years, we will make the UK one of the first major economies in the world to end low pay altogether," declared the Chancellor.

At present, only workers aged 25 and over are able to receive the national living wage, which is set at £8.21. Those 24 and under receive the minimum wage.

But Mr Javid said the Government wanted to reward the hard work of millennials and bring down the age threshold to cover all workers over 21.

But John McDonnell, his Labour Shadow, dismissed the announcement, saying: “This pathetic attempt at catch-up by the Conservatives will fool nobody.

"Labour will introduce £10 as a minimum as soon as we take office and, rising with living costs, it will mean everybody over 16 years of age will be earning comfortably more than £10.50 an hour by 2024," he added.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI Director-General, said: “Business shares the Chancellor's ambition to end low pay. Increasing productivity is the only way to sustainable pay rises.”

She stressed the success of the independent Low Pay Commission was due to its evidence-based approach to increasing wages without damaging job prospects.

"The Commission will work best if it retains the ability to judge the pace and affordability of any future wage rises," insisted Dame Carolyn.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s General Secretary, stressed how her organisation had long campaigned for a minimum wage of more than £10 as well as an end to the discrimination young workers suffered from lower rates.

"But the Chancellor's pre-election promise should be taken with a huge bucket of salt,” she declared.

"This pledge would be overwhelmed by a no-deal Brexit. If we leave the EU without a deal, jobs will be lost, wages will fall, and our public services will suffer," added Ms O’Grady.

In his speech, Mr Javid claimed the Government was bringing in a "decade of renewal" after the "decade of recovery" under the last Labour government, promising an "infrastructure revolution" with investment in roads, buses and broadband.

The Chancellor also allocated £500 million to create a new Youth Investment Fund to roll out youth centres and services to help young people "get on the conveyor belt to a better life and career" during the next five years. This would produce a consequential of almost £49m for the Scottish Government.

It has been estimated that the UK Government’s planned spending in the next decade would top £50 billion, meaning Edinburgh could expect to receive nearly £5bn under the Barnett Formula.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson attacked over plan to sideline Nicola Sturgeon

And Mr Javid announced plans to bring forward a White Paper on further devolution in England, saying the Government wanted to give more local powers to local people "to drive investments in the infrastructure and services they know they need".

Earlier, Mr Johnson was asked about journalist Charlotte Edwardes' claim that he had squeezed her thigh at a private lunch at The Spectator magazine's HQ shortly after he became editor in 1999.

During a visit to a business in Manchester the PM was asked if he had done it. "No,” he declared, adding: “What the public want to hear is about what we are doing to level up and unite the country."

This morning, Mr Johnson is set to be grilled again on the subject when he is due to appear on BBC Radio’s Today programme ahead of his keynote speech to conference tomorrow.