Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross hinted his party could seek a coalition with Labour in a bid to oust the SNP from power at Holyrood.
Mr Ross said he would be willing to “work with anyone and everyone” to get Tory policies enacted.
Asked directly if that could see his party do a deal with Labour after next year’s Scottish election, the Scottish Tory boss said: “I want to ensure that as many of the policies I am developing with my team right now can be enacted.
“I want to work with anyone and everyone to deliver the policies that will improve our education, will ensure our justice system is far fairer on the victims rather than the criminals, on ensuring it produces the jobs that people in Scotland need right now and will definitely need as we continue to face the consequences of this global pandemic.
“I will work with anyone and everyone on that issue.”
His comments came in an interview at the start of the Scottish Conservative conference, with Mr Ross telling the virtual event that nationalism was a greater threat to the union than socialism.
He said that Nicola Sturgeon and her party “want to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom”, making them “absolutely” a greater threat.
Speaking about the SNP, he said: “They want to tear us apart from our friends, our family and our colleagues in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“This is a union that has delivered so much in the last 300 years, the most powerful economic and political union the world has seen. This is a union that delivers in times of crisis and in normal times as well.
“This is a union I am passionate about.
“This is a union that two million Scots voted to remain part of just six years ago, this is a union that can continue to deliver for Scotland and Scotland can continue to benefit from being part of.”
He also said he wanted to people to look again at the Conservatives under his leadership, with Mr Ross taking over the top job in August, following the sudden resignation of Jackson Carlaw.
Since then the Scottish Tories have switched on some policies, with the party now backing free university tuition for students north of the border.
Mr Ross said: “I do want people to look at the Conservatives again and think ‘they’ve got a new, younger leader, a family man, is it different just at the top or is it different in the whole party?’.
“This is a party I want people to look at and think ‘actually that policy is not one I would have automatically assumed would be a Conservative policy but it is one that would help me, it is one I believe in, it is one I agree with’.
“I want to ensure that people right across the country can look at the Conservative manifesto, our policies, and think that is a manifesto for the whole of the country.”
The Tory MP, who is hoping to return to Holyrood after the 2021 Scottish elections, insisted his party could represent the whole of the country.
He said: “For many people the SNP have now become about centralisation, a focus on the central belt of Scotland, and if you live in the north of Scotland, or the south of Scotland, or the islands, it now seems as if Holyrood in Edinburgh is as distant as Westminster was before devolution.
“That is why I want to ensure that people can look afresh at the Conservatives, look at us again and think ‘there is things that I never expected the Conservatives to be putting forward, I know they are the strongest party on the union, I know they are the ones that are going to defend Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom’ … but also have a look at some of the other policies we are bringing forward and you can see a party that wants to represent the whole of the country.”
In response, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “In the week we learned that Boris Johnson and the Tories think devolution is a ‘disaster’, Douglas Ross has got a nerve to even suggest this.
“Boris Johnson and the Tories are the biggest threat to the future of the UK, and the biggest threat to everyone struggling as a result of their toxic policies.
“Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will be working to oppose Tory policies – and certainly not helping deliver them.”