SCOTTISH independence would be a "ghastly pointless act of self-mutilation", Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, has claimed as he dropped his biggest hint yet about becoming an MP again.

In a newspaper interview, the leading Tory said, while he had been deployed by his party to fight Labour and Ukip, he had not been engaged in the same way against the SNP.

"I haven't really been invited to go to deliver the coup de grace. My chances of sealing the deal are probably quite small," admitted Mr Johnson.

He recalled his less-than-successful campaign to become rector of Edinburgh University, when he backed increasing tuition fees and had a glass of beer poured over his head.

Yet, despite his non- activity on the No campaign, Johnson made clear he felt strongly that the Union with Scotland should be retained.

"It would be absolutely miserable to lose the Union. It would be a ghastly pointless act of self-mutilation by a great political institution."

With two years before he is due to leave City Hall, Mr Johnson dropped his biggest hint to date that he could seek to stand again as an MP - and possibly be a contender in any future Tory leadership battle.

He said: "I was elected twice on a clear manifesto to deliver jobs and growth and lead the city out of recession and we have done that."