The SNP is the “most anti-Scottish party” in the country, a leading Tory candidate for Westminster has claimed.

Luke Graham, a former MP who is standing in Perth & Kinross-shire at the general election, made the accusation at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen.

Appearing in a session promoting three prominent candidates, he said the party wanted to get investment and “optimism” back into struggling local services in his target seat.

He said: “The SNP say that we talk down Scotland, but they talk down Scotland.

“They are the most anti-Scottish party of all because they’re always blaming England for everything.

“I’ll be putting forward the best case for Perth & Kinross-shire to be that positive place for investment, for opportunity, for jobs, and for young adult people to build their lives there.”

The remarks were applauded by the audience.

Mr Graham, 38, was the MP for Ochil & South Perthshire from 2017 to 2019 before losing the seat to the SNP’s John Nicolson.

The new Perth & Kinross-shire seat, which has been created by boundary changes across the UK, is being defended by the SNP’s longest serving MP, Pete Wishart.

Mr Wishart said: “It’s a bit rich for Luke Graham to talk nonsense about the SNP being anti-Scottish. He represents the party responsible for inflicting the miserable trio of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak who have done unprecedented damage to Scotland through their economic mismanagement and chaotic Brexit

“What Luke Graham will find at the next election is that neither anti-Scottishness or anti-Englishness will be a factor, but anti-Conservatism most certainly will be.”