Campaigning focused on party leaders has damaged democracy and was to blame for Liberal Democrat losses in recent elections, according to Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.
Presidential campaigning, where individual MPs are sidelined in favour of making the leader the face of the party, was the strategy used by Nicola Sturgeon in 2015 and Theresa May and Ruth Davidson in the last general election.
Mr Carmichael said he blamed the tactic for the loss of his long-standing colleague John Thurso, who was MP for Caithness and Sutherland from 2001 to 2015.
“I think the main feature of the 2017 campaign was the way it became presidential,” he said at the UK party’s annual conference in Bournemouth.
“I do think presidential-style campaigning is dangerous and we saw that in 2015 when Nicola Sturgeon’s face was on every piece of campaign literature.
“The far north of Scotland lost an absolutely terrific MP in John Thurso in 2015 because it undermines the link between the MP and their constituency, which is one of the great strengths of the democratic system we have.”
Ruth Davidson, the face of the Scottish Conservative campaign in 2017, also used the tactic, which Mr Carmichael said could be about to backfire over her U-turn on Brexit.
He said: “Scottish Conservatives say they are there at the gift of Ruth Davidson and they credited her with their electoral successes.
“But the pressure is on them, because it is Conservatives who can make a difference over the direction of Brexit.
“Ruth has got to decide if she will be a cheerleader for Brexit or remain true to what she said during the Brexit campaign.”
Mr Carmichael said he had “no reason” to believe presidential campaigning will disappear at the next campaign and would, in fact, benefit Lib Dem leader Vince Cable.
He said: “If the choice is between Prime Minister Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn or Vince Cable then we are at the races there.
“I think when Vince Cable speaks, people want to listen. He is a known quantity and he is pretty popular and well-respected already.”
Mr Cable and his trademark hat are expected to feature heavily in a party political broadcast tomorrow night.
And Mr Carmichael said he thought the Lib Dem campaign for another referendum on the Brexit deal would be a vote-winner at the next election, despite falling flat this year.
He said: “Talking about the damage of Brexit didn’t have much traction during the election campaign because it was an extension of the referendum debate
“It wasn’t the wrong policy but the wrong time to be advancing it because, as Michael Gove said, people didn’t want to hear from experts.
“I think that will remain the case until people see the concrete facts about what Brexit will mean — but that landscape is already changing.”