A Scottish Conservative advisor who joined Douglas Ross’ backroom team has been sacked within 24 hours after his claims to have worked with Jim Murphy were denied by the former Scottish Labour leader. 

Craig Paterson had been hired by the Scottish Tories to fill one of the roles left by an exodus of employees from Mr Ross’s team. 

Mr Ross described his new team member as having an “extensive knowledge of Scottish politics” who had once been “a key part of Scottish Labour’s operations”. 

However, last night it emerged the party would not be going ahead with his hiring after Mr Murphy denied he had ever worked with him 

He took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to dispel claims that he had employed Mr Paterson or that he had even met him, and branded the hiring a “bizarre fantasy”. 

READ MORE: Douglas Ross hires ex Labour staffer amid exodus of aides

Mr Murphy wrote: “This story caught my attention. I have never knowingly met this guy let alone employed him in any role, ever. 

“A bizarre fantasy from the Scottish Tories.” 

Mr Ross revealed in an email to staff that Jon Novakovic, a former Australian political adviser whose last job before the Conservatives was for Mercy Corps on humanitarian aid delivery, will step down at the end of October, according to a report in The Times today. 

Mr Novakovic, who has worked in conflict zones including Afghanistan, Syria and Nigeria, was seen as the driving force behind a strategy to expand the Tories’ support base in Scotland through innovative policy ideas. 

David Bateman, director of communications, and Harley Lothian, head of digital, will leave almost immediately after the UK party conference in two weeks’ time. 

They are starting a digital communications company called Peach Partners.

Mr Paterson’s hiring was being seen as an attempt to bolster the Tories backroom staff and fill the vacuum left by these departures/ 

However, a Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “We will no longer be hiring this person after new information came to light.”