TORY MPs in Scotland will just do what they’re told and “rubber-stamp” Theresa May’s austerity and hard Brexit, Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

The First Minister was on the campaign trail in Pete Wishart’s Perth and North Perthshire constituency yesterday morning where the veteran MP faces a challenge from resurgent Tories who, after strong local election results, believe the rural seat is theirs for the taking.

With just a month to go until polling day, the SNP leader said it was unquestionable May would win the election, but, she argued, that made it necessary for Scots to back MPs who would “stand up for Scotland” at Westminster.

She said: “The issue at the heart of this election, not just in Perth and Perthshire but across Scotland, is a very straightforward one.

“Tory MPs from Scotland will be a rubber-stamp for Theresa May, for her reckless approach to Brexit and the cuts we know the Tories will want to impose.

“SNP MPs like Pete Wishart will be MPs that go to Westminster to stand up for Scotland, make Scotland’s voice heard and protect Scotland’s interests.

“For the next few years, perhaps more than ever before, Scotland needs strong voices to stand up and make our voice heard.

“We know from the polls in England that Theresa May is going to win this election, the question is who is going to stand up and make Scotland’s voice heard?”

There was, in many ways, a similar message from Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson who was launching her party’s campaign in Edinburgh.

Speaking to supporters, she too said voters had to make a choice between the SNP and the Tories.

The party’s own analysis suggests it could be in contention in more than a dozen constituencies across the country.

In addition to the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, areas such as Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire are to be in play, the Tories feel.

“Caveats do apply,” Davidson said, “but even that notwithstanding, you see that this is pretty much a two-horse race in vast swathes of the country now.

“We are in the mix or ahead of the game in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, bits of Ayrshire, in Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Perthshire, Stirlingshire, Angus, right the way up to Banffshire, Aberdeenshire and across to Moray.

“We’ve got lots of work to do ... but it was a very encouraging result last week, and we take that [and] put a spring in our step as we go forward.

“But we are the underdogs in this.”

Despite the squeeze from the SNP and the Tories, and disastrous results at last week’s local elections, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has insisted her party is still a contender.

Speaking at a campaign event in Rutherglen, the Scottish Labour chief said she was taking solace from Thursday’s results not being as catastrophic as they could have been.

“I think you need to put the results in a bit of context because if you were looking at papers two weeks ago you were looking at polls which showed Labour on 13 per cent, 14 per cent, 15 per cent,” she said.

“The commentariat were predicting we would lose every single one of our councils and we would lose half of our councillors.

“The results show today we are into the 20 per cent territory, we became top of the table in three councils, we shared position in a fourth and came second by one seat in two councils on top of that.

“Of course, it was a disappointing set of results, I’m always going to be disappointed by results which show Labour not winning. But there’s fight left there.”

Meanwhile, LibDem leader Tim Farron came to Scotland, giving his party’s Battle Bus its first run of the campaign.

Despite one awkward moment when Sky News were filming on the bus and Farron stumbled and fell over while walking down the aisle, it seemed to go smoothly, taking him to East Dunbartonshire, St Andrews before ending in Edinburgh for a rally.

Farron said the Lib Dems were the “real, and indeed, only challengers to the SNP” in parts of the Borders, Highlands and north-east of Scotland.

He said his party would be “fighting against the divisiveness and the SNP’s constant obsession” with a second independence referendum, and also promised a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. He said his party’s message in Scotland was “unique”.