The Prime Minister was addressing around 400 Conservative supporters at the Savoy Hotel in London yesterday as she seeks to shore up her position in the wake of a bruising general election campaign.
Mrs May hailed the Tories’ advances north of the border - where the party won 12 seats - and said that although “we may not have got an overall majority in Westminster” the Conservatives may “have saved the United Kingdom” by weakening the SNP’s case for independence.
The comments drew “dark laughter” from assembled guests, The Times reported.
But the SNP said what was clear from the election result was “Theresa May had no mandate whatsoever for her planned disastrous hard Brexit”.
The Prime Minister was the guest speaker at the Two Cities luncheon event, a major Conservative fundraising showpiece which dates back more than 50 years.
Among the other issues Mrs May addressed was the Conservatives’ falling party membership. The Labour party currently has more than 400,000 members - nearly four times that of the Tories.
The election result in Scotland was one of few bright spots for May. Her party gained 11 seats - all at the expense of the SNP - and unseated several high profile Nationalists, including Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson.
An SNP spokesman said: “The Tories made the constitution the centrepiece of their campaign in Scotland – indeed it was the only thing they spoke about – and they lost the election resoundingly, coming a very distant second.
“What is absolutely clear from this election is that Theresa May has no mandate whatsoever for her planned disastrous hard Brexit.
“This Tory government has treated Scotland with contempt and are doing everything in their power to undermine any case for the Union - they are dragging Scotland out of the EU and single market against our will, have flat-out ignored our compromise proposals, appointed election losers to the House of Lords to make them UK government Ministers, and are now set on a Westminster power grab.”