BORIS Johnson is set to travel to Scotland this week to promote his One Nation Conservativism and attempt to woo Scottish Tories as part of an expected bid to succeed Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister.

Conservative sources said the former Foreign Secretary was due in Aberdeen at a fund-raiser for the city’s Conservative Association, which he promised to attend when he was at the Foreign Office. It is suggested that Ross Thomson, the MP for Aberdeen South, who is a keen supporter of Mr Johnson’s, is helping to organise his colleague’s visit.

Reports at the weekend suggested Ruth Davidson had "banned" the former Secretary of State from giving a speech at the Scottish Conservative spring conference in Aberdeen.

Party insiders claimed he had approached the party leader telling her: "You and I are the future of this party," and that he had earmarked the conference as a platform to build support for his leadership bid.

Potential leadership rivals Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, did address conference but Tory officials insisted Mr Johnson had not been snubbed, pointing out how Matt Hancock, the UK Government’s Health Secretary, had also offered to attend but was also turned down.

Ms Davidson, a Remainer, who famously challenged Mr Johnson over Brexit during a TV debate during the referendum campaign, has played down her Brexiteer colleague winning the Tory crown. She told STV: “Remember that not everyone that people talk about being the frontrunner makes it to the starting line."

However, it is thought that if the London MP can get into the final stage of voting between two candidates, who are then voted on by the party grassroots, he could win.

Last autumn, Scottish Tories not well-disposed to Mr Johnson launched "Operation Arse". At the time, one senior party figure noted: “We called it that so we'd all be clear who we were talking about."

Asked about the former London Mayor’s venture to Scotland this week and what he thought of him, one Scottish MP said: “We will take every opportunity to promote the success of the Union. The Conservatives are a broad church, who believe in One Nation values unlike the separatists.”

Another said: “Boris is welcome in Scotland at any time. The former Mayor of London is assured a warm welcome to the north east.”

But a third noted: “The problem Boris has is that he has shown so little interest in Scotland or the Union in the past. He has never addressed the Union in any speech or interview that I have ever read. Sometimes he comes across as more of an English Nationalist than a Unionist. Certainly, in recent times he has repeatedly sided with the more Nationalist of my Conservative colleagues in the House. It’s not a good look for someone who aspires to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

The backbencher said he looked forward to hearing Mr Johnson’s ideas for strengthening the Union but argued that what was needed in a successor to the PM was someone who had the political capital and mindset to allow for some degree of compromise.

“Michael Gove was brimming with ideas on the Union when he was with us in Aberdeen last week. As a Scot himself, he ‘gets’ the Union, it’s more than just words with Michael Gove. He clearly sees that we need to see positive change come about to strengthen the United Kingdom.”

Mr Thomson was asked about Mr Johnson’s visit to Aberdeen but declined to comment.

Last month, Nicola Sturgeon suggested a Johnson premiership would send support for Scottish independence “sky-rocketing”.

The First Minister said: “Boris Johnson as PM would send not just people in Scotland but many people across the whole of the UK into utter despair because Boris Johnson, not single-handedly but largely, is responsible for the complete mess the UK finds itself in.”