Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed “wannabe” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s jibe that he would stop the SNP “in their tracks”.  

The First Minister broke her silence on the increasingly acrimonious statements coming from Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Sunak and Liz Truss to say she had heard it all before.  

Mr Sunak said on Friday that it would be “dangerously complacent” to ignore the threat posed by Scottish Nationalists to the Union, saying that “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP pose an existential threat”. 

His comments come after Mr Sunak’s opponent Liz Truss said she would “ignore” Nicola Sturgeon, and described the First Minister as an “attention seeker”. 

Ms Sturgeon hit back on Saturday morning by Tweeting a national newspaper’s front page featuring Mr Sunak’s comments.  

The SNP leader said she was “Wondering how many opposition leaders/wannabes I’ve now heard this from”.  

Mr Sunak said on Friday: “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP pose an existential threat to our cherished union.” 

“Arguing that we should ignore them is dangerously complacent. 

“We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and pretend they aren’t there – we need to stop them in their tracks. 

“That’s exactly what I would do as prime minister – holding the SNP to account for its failings and personally ensuring that the UK Government has a laser focus on delivering for every part of our United Kingdom.” 

Recent polls, Mr Sunak’s team has stressed, show he is more popular than the Foreign Secretary in Scotland

But Ms Truss, who spent time in her childhood living in Paisley, has been described by Scottish supporters as a “child of the union”. 

The First Minister broke her silence on the increasingly acrimonious statements coming from Conservative Party leadership hopefuls

Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are battling to become leader 

Last night SNP MP Mhairi Black said Mr Sunak does not have “the faintest idea” what ordinary people are dealing with. 

“Rishi Sunak is the same man who has slashed Universal Credit by over £1,000 for millions, hiked National Insurance payments and has now just admitted he wants to take public money from the areas that need it most and hand it over to the wealthier towns,” she said. 

“He has made it crystal clear that he stands for just one thing, making the rich richer and the poor poorer, and people across Scotland know this. 

“As the richest MP in Westminster, he doesn’t have the faintest idea what ordinary people in Scotland, and elsewhere, are facing daily during this Tory-made cost-of-living crisis as bills and food prices skyrocket. 

“Scotland hasn’t voted for the Tories for more than 50 years, yet we keep getting saddled with Tory governments and Tory prime ministers who will only ever work to widen the inequalities gap and try to block Scotland’s democratic right to choose its own future.” 

The First Minister broke her silence on the increasingly acrimonious statements coming from Conservative Party leadership hopefuls

John Swinney

Deputy First Minister John Swinney previously called Ms Truss’ comments “obnoxious” saying that "People in Scotland, whatever their politics, will be absolutely horrified. 

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