AN AYRSHIRE MSP says the appointment of Liz Truss as Conservative leader and Prime Minister will sow “more division and despair” across the UK.

Ms Truss was elected as the Tories’ new leader last week - and, consequently, as Prime Minister - on the strength of the 81,326 votes she received from Conservative party members. Rival Rishi Sunak received 60,399 votes.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “This result will send a shudder down the spine of people across our region. “Instead of the fresh start we desperately need, the reality will mean more division and despair for our country.

“Only two groups of people will be happy - the right wing of the Conservative Party, who have another leader who makes Donald Trump sound decidedly moderate, and the SNP, who will see this as an opportunity to sow more division over independence with a Prime Minister whose views are alien to the vast majority of people of Scotland.

“Support for breaking up the UK is always higher when the Tories are in power because they are the real threat to the union.

“At a time when the cost of living crisis is the top priority of families across our region, Liz Truss has failed to come up with a single answer to help people and businesses battle sky-high energy costs.

“Her first job should be to listen to Keir Starmer, implement a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants and use those funds to freeze energy prices now.”

In her acceptance speech, Ms Truss said: “We will deliver, we will deliver, and we will deliver.

“I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply.

“Boris, you got Brexit done, you crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”