LIZ Truss has backtracked on her comments about ignoring Nicola Sturgeon to make clear she would be prepared to work with her on some issues.

It is the second time this week the Foreign Secretary has been forced into a campaign U turn.

She abandoned a pledge to cut government spending by up to £8.8 billion less than 24 hours after unveiling the policy after it emerged that it would lead to pay cuts for more than five million teachers, nurses and other public sector workers.

The Tory leadership frontrunner's allies yesterday doubled down on remarks she made on Monday night when she branded the First Minister an 'attention seeker' and pledged to ignore her.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of Ms Truss's highest profile supporters, accused the First Minister of 'always moaning' and 'waffling on endlessly' about another independence referendum.

But her intervention divided Scottish Tories with some of her supporters among Conservative MSPs rushing to clarify them.

"The next Prime Minister needs to work with Nicola Sturgeon on the genuinely important issues. The best way to do so is ignore her attention seeking Indyref2 blethering, and turn the focus on health, education, justice, climate change, etc," wrote the party's chief whip at Holyrood Stephen Kerr on Twitter yesterday.

Mr Kerr is one of nine Conservative MSPs backing Ms Truss.

Former Tory MSP Mary Scanlon, who was undecided before she heard Ms Truss's comments and is now supporting rival Rishi Sunak, slammed Truss for her “inappropriate” statement.

Last night Ms Truss's campaign team were forced to clarify her comments to say she only intended to ignore Ms Sturgeon if she is pushing the case for independence.

When asked about Ms Sturgeon's push for a referendum during Monday night's hustings in Exeter, Ms Truss said: '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.'

She added: 'I'm sorry, she is an attention seeker, 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.'

Asked to clarify if the comments were specifically about ignoring any push for an independence referendum or a more general comment about not being willing to work with Ms Sturgeon, a source in her campaign team told the Mail: 'Liz is keen to work with the devolved administrations to deliver on the priorities of the UK.

'However, she has made it clear to the Scottish people that there will be no second referendum - instead, Whitehall and Holyrood will continue to focus on putting more money in their pockets and delivering on their priorities.'

SNP Depute Westminster Leader Kirsten Oswald MP said Ms Truss's remarks revealed her "true colours" about Scotland.

She said: "Liz Truss has shown her true colours and made her contempt towards Scotland crystal clear - no matter what she says now people will find it hard to believe.

"This whole situation and the Tory leadership contest in general has shown the Tories cannot be trusted.

"It is only with the full powers of independence can Scotland escape Westminster control and Tory governments people here don’t vote for, deliver a better future and build a genuine partnership with our friends in the rest of the UK.”

Mr Rees-Mogg launched a further attack on Ms Sturgeon when he was asked about the comments during a Sky News interview yesterday.

He said: 'What we need to do is to hold Miss Sturgeon to account for the failings of the Scottish Government to deliver services for the people of Scotland.

'And when she is waffling on endlessly about having a referendum and going to the Supreme Court and all of this, we need to be saying, "Hold on, you're doing this because you are failing to deliver for the people of Scotland".'

He said being part of the UK has helped Scotland get through the coronavirus pandemic and he criticised the First Minister for her approach to lockdown restrictions.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: 'It was the United Kingdom that had the resources and the firepower to help this country get out of Covid before other countries to the huge benefit of our economy, while Nicola Sturgeon was doing daily press conferences wanting them in a permanent lockdown.

"So I think she's very often wrong, she's always moaning and we need to focus on how the union benefits people.'

Murdo Fraser, one of the MSPs who has endorsed Ms Truss's campaign, defended Ms Truss's comments.

Citing polling showing fewer than one in three Scots want another referendum within Ms Sturgeon's timescale, he told BBC Radio Scotland: 'Liz Truss is far more in tune with the majority of Scottish opinion on this issue than Nicola Sturgeon is.

'So I think Liz Truss was absolutely right to say this is not the time for another independence referendum, I won't be sanctioning it on my watch, and there are other priorities that the Scottish Government should be focusing on.'

But Maurice Golden, one of eight MSPs and two Scottish MPs to write a joint article backing Mr Sunak yesterday, said: 'I think the comments are ill-informed for someone who could be prime minister.

'While undoubtedly Nicola Sturgeon is an attention seeker, she should be ignored at our peril because we need to be making the positive case for the Union, we need to be ensuring that we have sound economic policy, and ignoring Nicola Sturgeon is undoubtedly the wrong thing to do.'

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the comments from Ms Truss were 'obnoxious' and 'completely and utterly unacceptable'.

He added: 'Nicola Sturgeon has far more democratic legitimacy than Liz Truss is going to have if she becomes prime minister, and I think Liz Truss has absolutely no right or foundation to make these remarks.'