Scotland politics

Conservative leadership: Ruth Davidson now backing Jeremy Hunt

Ruth Davidson and Jeremy Hunt

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has switched her support to Jeremy Hunt in the race to become PM.

The foreign secretary is the third candidate to have been endorsed by Ms Davidson, who has previously supported Sajid Javid and Michael Gove.

Ms Davidson tweeted that Mr Hunt has "always put the Union first" and would therefore get her vote.

Mr Hunt is going head-to-head with Boris Johnson to become the next Tory leader and prime minister.

The winner of the contest, which will be decided by a vote of about 160,000 Conservative Party members, will take over from Theresa May on 24 July.

Ms Davidson tweeted that "any Conservative leadership candidate must put the Union first. Jeremy has done so and will get my vote".

Mr Hunt wrote in the Times on Monday that preserving the United Kingdom is more important than achieving Brexit.

Ms Davidson had initially backed Sajid Javid, who was voted out of the contest last Thursday.

She then said she was backing Michael Gove as the "next best person" for the job, but he failed to make the final two after finishing behind Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt in a further vote just hours later.

Immediately after the result was announced, Ms Davidson tweeted an apology to Mr Gove for giving him the "kiss of death".

Ms Davidson has been a fierce critic of Mr Johnson in the past, famously clashing with him over Brexit during a TV debate ahead of the EU referendum.

But Mr Johnson has the support of at least four Scottish Conservative MPs, including Ross Thomson - who was appointed earlier this week to run Mr Johnson's campaign in Scotland.

The SNP's leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, claimed in the House of Commons on Wednesday that "neither of the candidates should ever be elected prime minister".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, he said: "On the one hand, the Tories are asking people to put their faith in the most incompetent foreign secretary in a century, a man who has made a career out of lying, who has spent his week avoiding the media. Staging photos and playing to the extreme delusions of the Tory shires.

"On the other hand, we have the most incompetent health secretary in our history, a man who writes books on privatising our NHS."

The prime minister responded by saying that Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson would both do a "darn sight better job" than anyone sitting on the SNP benches.