The Scottish Conservatives could face “political extinction” if they do not have a wide debate on the future leadership of the party, an MSP has said.

Jamie Greene said there should be no “swift return to business as usual” after his party slumped to its lowest-ever vote share at a general election, returning five MPs north of the border.

Current leader Douglas Ross is due to stand down and a number of MSPs are understood to be considering whether to enter the race to succeed him.

However, the contest will not begin until after the party’s management board meet to decide on the timeline. It is understood the meeting will be held on Wednesday with the timelline for the contest expected to be set out next weekend.

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Mr Greene was dropped from a frontbench role by Mr Ross last year, with his vote in favour of the of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill seen as being the most likely factor.

Writing in the Times on Monday, he said: “Is the Scottish Conservative party leadership hoping for a conveniently short contest, with high barriers to entry, to appoint its preferred candidate?

“Or is it willing to have a real and meaningful conversation about what sort of party they want any new leader to lead?

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“I suspect some grandees prefer the former; a swift return to business as usual. I, however, and many others, believe the latter is a necessity.

“I’ll say this frankly: the party must do this properly to ensure the widest possible debate, lest we risk political extinction.”

He said there is “little appetite for a reactionary lurch to the right in Scotland, but the status quo is equally unappetising”.

Mr Greene’s sentiments were endorsed by justice spokesman Russell Findlay, who is considering whether he will enter the race or not.

He said: “Tories across the UK have taken a beating – although our success in Scotland in holding constituencies shouldn’t be overlooked.

“Everyone should take time to reflect on the message we have been sent.

“Scotland needs to play a big part in rebuilding an election-winning conservative movement and, along with many others, I’ll be taking careful consideration of the new circumstances we are in and of how I can best contribute to that task.”

North east MSP Maurice Golden has also said he is considering a bid for the Scottish Conservative leadership, while Rachael Hamilton, shadow cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the islands, and MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh Berwickshire, also cautioned against a 'coronation'.

Other possible contenders are understood to include party chairman Craig Hoy and deputy leader Meghan Gallacher, both of whom played a prominent role in the Scottish Conservative campaign after Mr Ross announced he would stand down.

However, so far nobody has confirmed they will go for the top job.

Mr Ross decided he would stand down following unease from Conservative colleagues at this decision to run in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

He ran in the stead of former MP David Duguid, who was barred from standing by party bosses due to ill health.

But the current Tory leader was beaten by SNP candidate Seamus Logan, who won 13,455 votes to Mr Ross’s 12,513.

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “The management board will meet soon to agree a timeline and format for the contest.”