Moray MP Douglas Ross is “likely to be a candidate in the contest” to be leader of the Scottish Conservatives following Jackson Carlaw’s sudden resignation.

It comes following the sudden resignation of Jackson Carlaw after less than six months in the job.

Announcing the move yesterday. Mr Carlaw said he made the “painful decision” after realising he was not the best person to lead the party in the run-up to next May’s Holyrood election.

He was in post for just 168 days, just two days less than he spent as interim leader replacing Ruth Davidson.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross: Five things you need to know about new potential Scottish Tory leader

Ruth Davidson stood down from the role in August last year with Mr Carlaw serving as acting leader until being fully appointed in February.

However John Lamont, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, also confirmed Ms Davidson would return to frontline politics and play a part in the team if Mr Ross is elected.

Speaking to Times Radio he said would be campaign manager of Mr Ross’s bid to lead the Scottish Conservatives and that RuthDavidson “will be taking on Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament” up until the election where they hope the MP will swap Westminster for Holyrood.

He said: “I think he has not only the skills to unite the Conservative Party in Scotland, but also, more importantly, the skills to unite the unionists vote within Scotland’s which is currently fragmented between a number of different parties.

READ MORE: MP Douglas Ross tipped to be new Scottish Tory leader

“One of the strengths of the SNP is they’re able to consolidate most of the nationalist vote behind them – which clearly poses a threat not just from the Scottish Parliament elections next year but in terms of the possibility or another referendum.

“I was (Ruth’s) campaign manager back in 2011 when she was elected Scottish leader and she has grown from strength to strength since that point and she’s going to be playing a part and Douglas’s team if Douglas is elected.

“Ruth will be taking on Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament between the point of Douglas’s election until next year’s election to the Scottish Parliament when we hope that Douglas is going to be returned as an MSP.

“Ruth will be returning to frontline politics and I think that’s a very welcome move because, as you say, Ruth is a formidable performer and a great advocate for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, which is clearly a very important part of political dynamic in Scotland with opinion polls showing renewed support for nationalists.”

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw quits as Scottish Conservative leader

Ruth DavidsonEdinburgh MSP Ruth Davidson campaigning outside Edinburgh Zoo for its safe reopening last month (Jane Barlow/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to Mr Carlaw saying he has been a “tremendous servant to the Scottish Conservative Party for more than four decades”.

READ MORE: Knocked off course by virus crisis, dithering Carlaw finally ends the drift

Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for the South Scotland region who had stood against Mr Carlaw in the bid to become leader said the party “did make a bad choice” in appointing him leader and suggested the decision to remove him was a “stitch-up”.

But fellow party MSP Adam Tomkins, who is to quit Holyrood at the 2021 election, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme: "Michelle doesn't know what she's talking about.

"The only thing that we need to remember about Michelle is that she was beaten 75/25 in a two-horse race by Jackson Carlaw only a few months ago and I'm afraid that Michelle doesn't speak for the party.

"I think the reason why we're worried about the polls is because we think that they might be right for the first time in Scottish history.

"Independence now looks like it might not be the minority pursuit that it's always been but the position of a majority of Scots and we need to do something about that.

"I think Douglas is exactly that kind of combination of formidable and robust and determined that we do need... I think he will be an outstanding candidate and an outstanding leader if he does announce his candidacy."

Mr Ross had been a parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland but resigned from the role in May after Dominic Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown.

He was elected to Westminster in the 2017 general election, taking the seat of Angus Robertson, former SNP leader in the House of Commons, having been a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands in the year prior.