THE LOSING candidate from the Scottish Conservatives’ last leadership battle has indicated she has only pledged support to Douglas Ross if he commits to reform the party.

Mr Ross is set to become the party’s new leader having secured the backing of a host of Tory politicians - while no other candidate has thrown their hat into the ring ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

Michelle Ballantyne, who was defeated by Jackson Carlaw in the Scottish Tories last leadership election in February, reportedly only gave Mr Ross her support based on the “understanding that we will be a centre right Conservative, Boris backing, Brexit positive, anti-nat party”.

The SNP claimed it showed the Conservatives are "out of touch" with the Scottish public.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross to draw up jobs recovery strategy if he secures Scottish Conservative leadership

Ms Ballantyne further warned that her support for the new leader is on the basis “we will see reform of the cronyism starting with the Candidates Board not being made up of candidates!”

The Daily Record reports that a message from Ballantyne, the MSP for the South of Scotland, to her allies, indicates her support for Mr Ross is conditional.

She added: “I know this is potentially difficult for some of you but I think right now this is the right decision as we are now incredibly short of time.

"I have told them that if the party doesn’t reform I will design [sic] so I will back Douglas on the basis of change and judge his performance accordingly.

“That is my personal position - I hope many of you will be able to join me in this view as it is important to understand that this is to get us to and through 2021 - it is not perhaps perfect but under the circumstances nothing would be now and it is not the end of the road as everything will be in play next year and if we get it right there will hopefully be some great new people in Holyrood from this list!”

READ MORE: Douglas Ross would 'relish a challenge' for Scottish Conservative leadership

Last week, Ms Ballantyne publicly stated her support for Mr Ross’s leadership bid, stressing he has “a track record of standing up to the Nationalists”.

She added: “Earlier this year, I stood for the leadership because I wanted to empower our members.

“I have confidence that Douglas is in tune with the membership and that he would work with activists to ensure that their voices are heard.”

The SNP said the memo showed that the Scottish Tories would be the "same old party" under Mr Ross's leadership.

SNP MSP, Christine Grahame, said: "This leaked message confirms that Douglas Ross is Boris Johnson's man in Scotland and will rubber-stamp every damaging decision from Downing Street, regardless of the harm it does - that couldn't be further out of step with public opinion here.

“Douglas Ross might be promising a party which doesn’t take orders from Westminster - but no-one is buying it."

She added: “Even under a change in leadership, the Tories will be the same old party – obsessed with a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote for, no matter the cost to jobs and livelihoods, and happy to line up beside Boris Johnson in any election.

“Time and time again, the Scottish Tories have proved themselves no different to their colleagues at Westminster – they are completely out of touch, and utterly incapable of standing up for the interests of Scotland."