Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton is kicking off a drive to almost double the number of councillors his party has by campaigning in the constituency of his Tory rival.

The Lib Dem MSP is heading to Moray – the Westminster seat held by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross – on Saturday to launch the party’s 150 Rising campaign.

It aims to grow the Liberal Democrats tally of councillors in Scotland from the 87 that were returned in May to 150 in the next council elections in four years’ time.

And Mr Cole-Hamilton hopes he can emulate the successes of Liberal Democrats south of the border, where the party has captured seats from the Conservatives in by-elections, such as in Tiverton and Honiton in June.

Speaking as the campaign got under way, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Over the past two years, Liberal Democrats have shown that we can come from behind to win stunning victories against the Conservative party, so it is no accident that I am kicking off this strategy in Moray, the backyard of the Scottish Conservative leader.

“Douglas Ross has shown himself to be hopelessly weak. He’s defended a series of hopelessly out of touch Conservative Prime Ministers, his parliamentary performances are embarrassing and his MSPs openly plot to replace him.”

The Lib Dem added: “Scotland needs politicians who can not only take the fight to Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, but also win over those who are undecided.

“By doubling down on the Brexit nationalism of Boris Johnson, Douglas has demonstrated that he will never lead Scotland.”

He urged voters in areas such as Moray to “put your faith” in his party, pledging the Liberal Democrats would “work our hearts out for you”.