LIZ Truss and Rishi Sunak have been attempting to demonstrate their strong links to Scotland by meeting with Scottish Tory MPs and members on Tuesday afternoon.

It came ahead of the Tory leadership hopefuls’ hustings in Perth, where the two will be quizzed on their plans for the Union as well as other key policy proposals.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – who has refused to declare support for either candidate after flip-flopping over Boris Johnson’s position for months – met with the contest favourite Truss at a whisky distillery in Elgin.

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And Andrew Bowie, the head of the Conservative Union Research Unit and MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, was spotted at Cluny Castle in Inverurie with Sunak, who he has been a vocal supporter of throughout the contest.

Commenting on Liz Truss's visit to Moray today, Richard Lochhead MSP said: "Liz Truss has already said she’ll ignore Scotland’s First Minister if she becomes Prime Minister next month.

"Unsurprisingly, it seems she ignored the people of Moray too, dropping in for a photo opportunity rather than taking the take time to meet local people who are working on the front line to support those impacted by the cost of living crisis. 

“People in Moray need to hear from Liz Truss how she will deal with soaring costs that are already pushing households in Moray into poverty.

"Her plans for tax cuts might appeal to Tory members but that will do nothing to help drive down inflation and ensure that people have the money they need to live. Liz Truss is just like Boris Johnson – completely out of touch with the lives and needs of ordinary people in Moray.”

Speaking in Scotland today, Truss said it was wrong to focus on “sticking plasters” in response to Keir Starmer's promise his party would freeze the energy price cap at its current level of £1,971 for six months from October, paid for in part by an extension of the windfall levy on the profits of the oil and gas companies.

The Tory leadership frontrunner said: “We’re still in the leadership contest at the moment. Now, my priority is reducing taxes so people can keep more of their own money at the same time as making sure we boost energy supply.

“It is wrong to just keep sticking plasters on this problem.

“What we actually need to do is make sure we are unleashing more energy, for example, from the North Sea.

“We’re investing in technologies like nuclear, and we’re finding more renewable energy as well.”

Talking to reporters in Elgin, Truss also vowed to continue deploying the Royal Navy to tackle people making crossings of the English Channel in small boats if she becomes the next prime minister.

She said: “It is an absolute priority to make sure we deal with the issue of small boats and the appalling trade by people traffickers.

“And I will use every tool at my disposal, if I am selected as prime minister, to make that happen.”

Meanwhile, Sunak's campaign has put forward plans to see Scotland's top civil servant "grilled" annually by MPs, in a proposition that has been deemed "sinister" by the SNP.