NICOLA Sturgeon is “an attention seeker” who ought to be ignored, Liz Truss has said.

The Foreign Secretary brutally dismissed the First Minister during a hustings for the Tory leadership tonight, and said “no, no, no” to another independence referendum.

SNP politicians accused the runaway favourite to replace Boris Johnson of being “disrespectful” to Ms Sturgeon, who has won two Holyrood elections, while Ms Truss is yet to lead the Tories to the polls.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said people in Scotland would be “absolutely horrified” by Ms Truss’s “obnoxious remarks”, and said she had fundamentally undermined the Unionist argument that Scotland would be treatty fairly at the heart of the United Kingdom.

In a Q&A with Financial Times Whitehall Editor Sebastian Payne, Ms Truss, who spent part of her childhood in Paisley, said: “I feel like I’m a child of the Union. I really believe we are a family and we’re better together.  

“And I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.”

As the audience of Tory members gathered at Exeter University loudly applauded and cheered, Mr Payne put it to Ms Truss that the First Minister was difficult to ignore as she was democratically elected.

But Ms Truss went on: “I’m sorry, she’s an attention seeker, Seb. That’s what she is. 

“And what we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we are delivering for them, and making sure that all of our government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.

“You know, I was very proud to lift the whisky tariffs. And I don’t think I’ve ever been mpre popular than I was in Mather’s Bar in Edinburgh the night that I was there with a bunch of whisky distillers who said this had made a huge difference to their business.

“It was now 25 per cent cheaper for them to export their fantastic whisky to the United States.

“Andf that is the kind of thing.. .we need to be there. We ned to be showing what we’re delivering .

“You know, Nicola Sturgeon can sort of carry on talking about an independence referendum.

“We had the referendum in 2014. It was agreed it was once in a generation. 

“I didn’t realise a generation happened within 10 years. That doesn’t make any sense. 

“So we’ve got to call her out on that, but at the same time really delivering for Scotland.

“Some of the policies I’m talking about, the investment zones, the freeports, we need to make sure they’re delivered in Scotland too.”

Asked if she was giving an “absolute no” to another independence referendum if she was Prime Minister, Ms Truss said: “No, no, no.”

Mr Swinney told The Nine on BBC Scotland: “The Unionist campaigners suggest that Scotland should be at the heart of the United Kingdom.

“How Scotland can expect to be at the heart of the United Kingdom when the democratically elected leader of our country is , in the view of the person most likely to be the next Prime Minister of the UK, somebody that should be ignored is completely and utterly unacceptable.

“I think Liz Truss has, with one silly, intemperate intervention, fundamentally undermined the argument she tries to put forward that Scotland somehow can be fairly and well-treated at the heart of the United Kingdom.”

Ms Sturgeon has said that if there is no legal route to holding Indyref2 next year via the UK Supreme Court she will fight the next general election as a 'de facto referendum' on the single issue of independence.

Ms Truss's remarks - although spoken in the heat of a leadership campaign - suggest the de facto referendum plan would very get short shrift from her.