NICOLA Sturgeon has said the brutal dismissal of Douglas Ross by senior Tories in London is indicative of the Westminster establishment’s “utter contempt for Scotland”.

The First Minister said the Scottish Tory leader might even find independence attractive compared to being “treated like something on the sole of Westminster’s shoe”.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking at FMQs in the wake of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg saying Mr Ross had “always been quite a lightweight” political figure.

The attack followed the Moray MSP and Highlands MSP calling for Boris Johnson to resign over the latest partygate scandal yesterday.

Asked about the remarks by SNP MSP Audrey Nicoll, Ms Sturgeon said: “Even I am not as derogatory about him as his Tory colleagues are being.”

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After repeating Mr Rees-Mogg’s descriptions of Mr Ross as “not a big figure” and “lightweight”, she went on: “These might be personal insults directed at the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, but actually they say something much deeper about the Westminster establishment’s utter contempt for Scotland.

“If they can’t even show basic respect for their own colleagues, what chance do the rest of us have?

“The fact is Westminster thinks Scotland doesn’t need to be listened to, can be ignored, and now we're being told we have to thole a Prime Minister that his opwn colleagues think is not fit for office.”

She added that this meant “an added benefit of being independent is that we will no longer have to put up with being treated like something on the sole of Westminster’s shoe”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I suspect today even Douglas Ross finds that a really attractive proposition.”

Mr Ross, who has been Scottish Tory leader since August 2020, cried out: "Absolutely not".

Doorstepped by the media at the Scottish Parliament earlier, Mr Ross said: “Jacob Rees-Mogg, as anyone, is entitled to their opnions. I don’t have to agree with them.”

Asked if he had a message for Mr Rees-Mogg, Mr Ross said: ““My message is I’m going to hold the First Minister to account and ensure that Scottish Conservatives continue to provide a real alternative here in Scotland.”

However West of Scotland Tory MSP Jamie Greene was more strident, saying Mr Ross was “not at all” a lightweight, but a firm leafer who had his firm support.

Referring to the infamous photograph of Mr Rees-Mogg reclining almost horizontally on the Commons frointbench, he added: “Jacob Rees-Mogg should have a long lie down, maybe not in the House of Commons.”