THERESA May has been told she was personally responsible for wrecking the UK’s international reputation after claiming the Union is a force for good on the world stage.

The former prime minister sought to convince Scots to reject independence by hailing Britain as an inclusive and highly respected state.

But the Tory backbencher has been accused of doing “lasting damage” to the UK’s credibility as she was slapped down by the Greens and SNP.

May seeks to counter calls for Scottish sovereignty in the introduction to Andrew Bowie’s new collection of essays by Tory politicians – Strength in Union: The Case for the United Kingdom.

Published on Friday and unveiled at the Conservative Party conference, the collection includes contributions from Michael Gove, Alister Jack and William Hague, among others.

As the UK Government desperately tries to lure back foreign workers who have left as a result of Brexit and hostile immigration policies, May claims one of the core strengths of the UK is "the respect we give to different identities”.

Setting out her vision for “Global Britain”, the former Tory leader claims “a UK playing its part in that way would be of benefit to the world, not just the people of the UK”.

But she insists no individual UK country could “play that role and would not attract the same degree of respect”.

The former PM adds: “We perhaps do not sufficiently appreciate the extent to which the UK is respected and admired around the world precisely because we have built a peaceful, stable and prosperous union of four nations – each of which retains its own identity and traditions, and each of which contributes to a greater whole. We are a model that others seek to emulate.”

The National: Theresa May's Home Office deployed mobile billboards telling immigrants to 'go home' Theresa May's Home Office deployed mobile billboards telling immigrants to 'go home'

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May, who presided over the UK's chaotic Brexit process until being ousted by Boris Johnson in 2019, also acknowledged that the saga has posed a threat to the “solidarity” of the Union. “The exit of the UK from the EU does require us to look again at the relationship between the four nations to ensure that it is working for all parts of the UK,” she writes.

The contentions have been hotly contested by the Greens and SNP.

Green MSP Maggie Chapman told The National: "It is quite astonishing that as the Conservative government presides over sky high energy prices, hikes National Insurance for the lowest paid workers, and prepares to cut more than £1000 per year from many households that any Tory, let alone a former prime minister, has the gall to suggest that the poorest benefit most from the union. The sooner Scotland can choose a different future, the better." 

An SNP spokesperson added: "Theresa May was the architect of the cruel hostile environment immigration Home Office policy. She sent vans around the country with the message of 'Go Home' on them. Theresa May has done lasting damage to any credibility the UK may have had left on the world stage.

"As a result of her disastrous policies Scotland is worse off as the Tories shut the door to immigration – Scotland's economy and society is enriched by immigrants.

"UK prime ministers like Theresa May and Boris Johnson cannot be trusted to protect the future of the people of Scotland. We must be able to choose a different path towards independence."

“Go Home” vans were sent out onto the streets in 2013 by the Home Office while it was under May’s control.

The mobile billboards vans toured six London boroughs between in July and August of that year and were condemned as racist by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford in 2019, when May was prime minister.

Urged to “call out and condemn” the use of the vans in the Commons, the Tory chief said: "I said at the time that, that was too blunt an instrument – but there is an important issue here, which is that the public expect us to have a fair immigration system which deals with those who are here illegally and that is what we need to do."