The Conservative Party’s latest high profile supporter has claimed that Britain needs to start being “more selfish” over immigration policy. Tessa Hartmann, the woman behind Scottish Fashion Week, was unveiled by the Tories yesterday as the latest influential figure to back the party north of the Border. The mother-of-four was also the writer and producer of Scotland’s first 3D CGI film Sir Billi, and attracted the blockbuster talents of Sir Sean Connery, Dame Shirley Bassey and Alan Cumming.

Yesterday she entered the political sphere for the first time, declaring herself a Conservative supporter because of fears she has over the economy. She said as far as the Labour government was concerned “enough is enough”, and that she agreed with the apocalyptic assessment made by the Tory leadership last week that Britain would be bankrupted with five more years of Gordon Brown in Downing Street. Ms Hartmann said: “Just look at what happened to the pound last week when we had the prospect of a Labour government again. That shows you what the rest of the world thinks of this current government.”

She added: “We simply can’t afford another five years of this Labour government – just look at how the value of the pound slumped when the polls gave Labour a chance. For too long they have taken the Scottish vote for granted. That must come to an end.”

However, in an interview with The Scotsman she appeared to conform to the “mean” stereotype the Conservative Party’s opponents have been trying to use to portray them.

Despite Mr Cameron having pledged that the foreign aid budget would remain untouched from cuts expected to bring down the national debt of over £1 trillion, Ms Hartmann suggested this was one area which should be looked at. She added that more needed to be done about controlling immigration. “We should be looking after ourselves at home to start with,” she said. “We need to start being a bit more selfish.”

Her comments were seized on by the Labour Party as portraying the real face of the Tories. A spokesman for Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said: “This just shows how out of touch the Conservatives still are. Their values are at odds with the generosity of Scots. They are a risk that Scotland cannot afford to take.”

Ms Hartmann’s support follows the switch last year of leading Scottish QC Paul McBride from Labour to the Conservatives. The Tories hope that high-profile backing will help them in a push for 11 Scottish target seats where they need to make gains. There are fears that if once they return just one seat again north of the Border then Scottish nationalism will be given a boost with a Conservative government in Westminster.

But, Ms Hartmann said that the problem the Conservatives had was people voting traditionally in Scotland and not thinking about what the parties stand for. “Often it is a case of voting for who your grandparents and parents voted for,” she said. And she also raised concerns that many would not bother to vote at all, adding: “We have got to get over the message that a Conservative vote is not a wasted vote and that it is the party that can deliver change in the UK.”

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