This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

While the SNP appears to be in the process of tearing itself apart following Thursday's devastating election losses, with John Swinney now facing demands to pass on the leadership to Kate Forbes and Stephen Flynn, the other defeated party of government, the Conservatives, are braced for their own succession battle.

In fact, the Tories have two new leaders to choose, one at the UK level and one in Scotland, and it is clear whoever wins the race to become the new leader of the UK Tories will have a major influence on who takes the Tory crown north of the Border.

Former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his resignation as Conservative leader last week following Labour's landslide victory and is said to be willing to remain in the role of opposition leader until his successor is in place.

At a UK race level there are seven politicians from the remaining 121 Tory MPs, from across the party's ideological wings, gearing up for the future contest – Kemi Badenoch, James Cleverly, Robert Jenrick, Priti Patel, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman and Victoria Atkins.

Some in the party have been arguing that under the threat from Nigel Farage's hard right Reform UK – which took four seats and 4 million votes, coming second in 98 seats – it makes strategic sense for the Conservatives to veer more to the right.

Should that reasoning gain hold, it could benefit figures such as Ms Patel and Ms Braverman and put prospective candidates from the party's One Nation wing such as Mr Tugendhat and Ms Atkins at a disadvantage.

Ms Braverman, in particular, has been seen as the right's champion and has been wooing the grassroots for months ahead of what was anticipated as the party's inevitable defeat and post election leadership change.

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ExclusiveScottish Conservative MSP warns over move to hard right after Braverman attack

In a speech on Monday night – which brought a backlash from LGBTQ Tories – she attacked “liberal Conservatives”, saying she was angered by the flying of the Pride flag in her department as home secretary calling it a “monstrous thing”.

She condemned her party for what she said was its failure to “stop the lunatic woke virus” and that it had been dumped out of office on a failure to keep its promises.

“We won a great majority in 2019 promising to do what the people wanted,” she told the National Conservatism conference in Washington DC. “We were going to use our Brexit freedoms and stop waves of illegal migrants. We were going to cut taxes. We were going to stop the lunatic woke virus. We did none of this.

“Our problem is us. Our problem is that the liberal Conservatives who trashed the Tory party think it was everyone’s fault but their own. My party governed as liberals and we were defeated as liberals. But seemingly, as ever, it is Conservatives who are to blame.”

Ms Braverman said she was unable to stop the Pride flag being flown in her department against her wishes. “What the Progress flag says to me is one monstrous thing: that I was a member of a government that presided over the mutilation of children in our hospitals and from our schools,” she said.

Some observers believe her attack on liberal values went too far and she will have damaged her own bid to become Mr Sunak's successor.

Suella Braverman made a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington DC, with remarks made rejected by her Tory colleaguesSuella Braverman made a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington DC, with remarks rejected by her Tory colleagues (Image: Newsquest)
Iain Dale, the former Conservative candidate and radio presenter, said: “What a disgusting speech. And she seriously thinks she has a chance of leading the Conservative party. Not while I have a breath left in my body. Moderate Conservatives need to stand up and be counted. This will not stand.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative MSPs are closely watching developments in their party in London.

With the party traditionally positioning itself as offering a more moderate brand of Conservatism than its southern counterparts, it is likely that Ms Braverman's speech will have been met with anxiety among many.

One MSP who was distinctly unimpressed was Jamie Greene, regarded by some as a likely Scottish Conservative leadership contender.

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“This sort of intervention makes it even more imperative that the Scottish Conservatives see the direction of travel of the UK party before deciding on its own future path whatever that may be,” Mr Greene told Unspun responding to Ms Braverman's address in the US.

“The electorate made their views on toxic culture wars clear last week and any future leader of the Conservative Party, north or south of the border, ought to bear that in mind.

“You don't win elections on the fringes of politics, you win by appealing to the mass centre ground with sensible pragmatism and a positive outlook.”

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UnspunWho shall taketh the Scottish Conservative crown from Douglas Ross?

Party bosses meet on Wednesday to decide on the timeline of the party's leadership contest in Scotland with an announcement expected next weekend.

The thinking of the party's management board will become clear in a few days, but at the moment it seems in no rush to get Douglas Ross's successor in place swiftly.

Indeed after attracting negative headlines over its de-selection of David Duguid as the Conservative general candidate in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East – which the new candidate Mr Ross went on to lose last week – it may well opt to tread very carefully and see how events unfold at Westminster before making any big decisions.