RISHI Sunak has been asked by a Conservative Party member how he would “suppress” Nicola Sturgeon.

The candidate appeared alongside rival and frontrunner Liz Truss at the 12th and final Tory hustings before party members vote to determine who will be the next prime minister of the UK.

The former chancellor faced questions from Conservative Party members and LBC host, Nick Ferrari, in London on Wednesday night.

At the end of the event, a party member told Sunak the unity of the United Kingdom must be key point for the next PM.

READ MORE: Former Scottish Tory councillor 'voted for Liz Truss in leadership election' despite party ban

He said: “Seeing the riot that the SNP runs in Parliament, and the amazing statements that come from their leader in Edinburgh, how will you suppress Nicola Sturgeon?”

The question saw applause from audience members as Sunak laughed, before replying: “It's an excellent question. So I think when it comes to Scotland, there are probably three things I would say to all of you that I would do as Prime Minister.

“I think the first is we need to more actively demonstrate the benefit of the United Kingdom Government in Scotland.

“And that's something that we started doing actually with Michael Gove and I working together with Alister Jack to demonstrate that the UK Government was investing in Scottish communities for the first time, and it's changed the conversation. “ He said as well as this, he would call out “the failures of Nicola Sturgeon's leadership” as he criticised the Scottish Government’s record on schools and hospitals, which he said were “not performing as well as they should”.

The National: Liz Truss took a different tone from Rishi Sunak at the at the Tory hustingsLiz Truss took a different tone from Rishi Sunak at the at the Tory hustings

“The second thing is to remember when it comes to the Union in Scotland,” he continued, “ is who are we speaking to?

“Well, we're not just speaking to ourselves, we're not just speaking to Conservatives, right? We need to talk to all the other people in Scotland who don't vote Conservative but are Unionists. So we need to have a leader who can speak to them. And I believe I can.”

Sunak said the third and most important thing to remember was that “nationalism is an incredibly seductive and romantic idea”.

If Unionists only meet it with arguments about currency, borrowing, or who's going to pay for pensions or issues around trade, “it won't be good enough”.

Ferrari asked Sunak if he thought Sturgeon was an attention seeker and if Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford was a low-energy Jeremy Corbyn, pointing to previous comments by Liz Truss.

Sunak responded: “I think, in all these cases, we have to respect the fact that these are the legitimately elected leaders of Scotland and Wales, that the United Kingdom Prime Minister has to obviously work with them and constructively and demonstrate that to the people of Scotland that we can work with them.

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“But what do we need to do as Conservatives? We need to take the fight to them and beat them. That's what we need to do.”

It marks a stark difference in tone from rival and frontrunner Truss, who was asked about her comments insulting devolved leader Sturgeon and Drakeford as well as French president Emmanuel Macron.

Despite previously saying “the jury is out” on whether Macron is “friend or foe”, the Foreign Secretary refused to answer whether former American president Donald Trump or Chinese president Xi Jinping were “friends or foes”

As Ferrari read out her remarks on the devolved leaders, which saw applause from the Wembley crowd, Truss said “I still agree with myself by the way”.

Truss also claimed there would be no new taxes or energy rationing if she became prime minister, as she dropped hints about further cost-of-living support.

READ MORE: Brian Cox tells Nicola Sturgeon Scotland has never been as ripe for independence

The Tory leadership frontrunner reiterated her two priorities are to cut taxes and to secure the UK’s energy supply as people across the country battle soaring costs.

She added a third priority would be to address costs in the form of a budget or a “fiscal event”, telling the audience: “In a fiscal event, the chancellor would address the issue of household support.”

Asked by Ferrari whether she would agree to no new taxes as outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson did, Ms Truss said: “Yes, no new taxes.”

Voting in the Tory leadership contest closes at 5pm on Friday and the winner will be announced on Monday.