Scotland could be 'deciding factor' in next general election, says Tory chairman
With the SNP "weakened" amid the turmoil of the police investigation into its finance, Mr Hands said there was an opportunity for the Conservatives to gain seats in the next UK election, which is likely to be held next year.
He said the SNP had "a dedication to incompetence and mismanagement of public services and finances that even the Labour Party would envy".
Mr Hands predicted the SNP's time in power at Holyrood was "going to end in tears", and that means his party has "the opportunity not just to hold on to what we have but to go forward and make gains right the way across Scotland".
He told the Scottish Conservative conference in Glasgow: "Make no mistake, Scotland is going to be a key battleground of ours in the next UK election.
"It could be that Scotland is the deciding factor in that election, whether we have a full term of Rishi Sunak or something else under Sir Keir Starmer."
However, he warned Tory members that with a number of seats "on a knife-edge", the party would "need every vote we can muster".
First Minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf has already said another independence referendum would be his price for supporting Labour at Westminster, and Mr Hands said the Tories therefore "need to show a vote for the SNP is a vote for more chaos, not just in Scotland, but potentially at the UK level as well".
In 2017, the Scottish Tories returned 13 MPs to Westminster, helping keep the Conservatives in power.
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