BORIS Johnson has been mocked after he flagged up polling which showed a surge in support for nationalist parties that support independence from the UK.

One of his leaflets showed the SNP and Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru collectively winning 59 seats, which is up from the 39 they won at the last general election.

An SNP spokesperson said: “Despite all of his bluster while in Scotland this week, Boris Johnson is clearly completely indifferent to what happens to the Tories north of the border.

“Of course, the people of Scotland overwhelmingly did not vote for a Tory government and they did not vote to be dragged off the Brexit economic cliff edge - so it’s little wonder that as support for the Tories is plummeting in Scotland, regardless of who leads them."

Johnson is up against Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the race to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and Prime Minister, a contest that will come to an end this month.

However, although Johnson is the favourite to win, his Unionist credentials have been questioned over historic comments criticising the Barnett formula, which allocates public spending increases to Holyrood. He performed a u-turn last week by saying he would retain the formula.

Senior Scottish Tories are fearful that Johnson could drive support for independence and a majority of Conservative MSPs, including party leader Ruth Davidson, are backing Hunt.

One of Johnson’s leaflets highlighted a recent poll by ComRes which, based on an extrapolation into seats, claimed that the Tories under his leadership would win 395 seats at a general election - a majority of 140.

The same snapshot also showed a yellow box - the colour of the Scottish Nationalists - next to 59 seats, which a Johnson campaign source said represented the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

Such an outcome would mean a big increase in the total number of seats won by Welsh and Scottish pro-independence parties compared to the 2017 election. However, the source said many of these seats would be gains at the expense of Labour.

Meanwhile, Johnson has maintained his refusal to talk about his personal life and said he would "live with" the damage it may cause to his electoral chances.

The former foreign secretary was asked by a Tory member at a hustings event in Perth whether a good prime minister needed to be "a loyal husband and father".

Johnson split from his second wife Marina Wheeler, with whom he has four children, last year, after 25 years of marriage.

His subsequent relationship with Carrie Symonds threatened to derail his Tory leadership bid, after police were called to a late-night row at their home.

In response to the question about his character, Johnson said: "I think that on these sorts of things, I have been asked all sorts of questions in the last 20 or 30 years, and I just don't comment on that stuff.

"What people in this country want to hear is what my plans are to get Brexit over the line, what I'm going to do to unite our country, and the ideas I have for a fantastic agenda of modern conservatism."

The female Tory member who asked the question said that his refusal to answer meant voters would "come to their own conclusion and it may not be a favourable one".

Johnson said: "Then I'm going to have to live with that."