BORIS Johnson has tried to flatter his way back into Ruth Davidson’s affections after the two Tory leaders fell out over a no-deal Brexit

The Prime Minister said he was a “massive fan” and “lost in admiration” of the Scottish leader ahead of a show-down between the two in Edinburgh.

He also said he wanted to help her win the 2021 Holyrood election.

However Mr Johnson insisted a no-deal Brexit may be necessary if the EU refuses to offer the UK a new deal without the Irish backstop.

“With high hearts and with growing confidence we will prepare for no-deal Brexit,” he said. 

Mr Johnson was speaking after going on board the Trident submarine HMS Victorious at Faslane Naval Base on his first visit to Scotland as PM.

Ms Davidson, who has never hidden her disdain for Mr Johnson since campaigning for Remain against him in the EU referendum, said on Sunday she would not support no-deal.

Her challenge to the Prime Minister’s authority came after she endured a series of snubs.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson pledges to strengthen Union as he prepares for clash with Ruth Davidson

Last week, Mr Johnson sacked David Mundell as Scottish Secretary despite Ms Davidson urging him to keep him in post, then installed the Worcester MP Robin Walker as a junior minister in the Scotland Office, the first English MP in such a post for more than a century.

Asked whether he had confidence in Ms Davidson, Mr Johnson said: “I’m with Ruth very much. I think she has been a fantastic leader of Scottish Conservatives. 

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“I’m lost in admiration of what she has achieved. I’m a massive fan of the way she has taken the argument to those who would destroy our union and our constitution, and damage a global brand in the UK that is loved, admired and recognised around the world.

“I’m totally with Ruth in her political ambitions. I hope that she succeeds here in Scotland. I’ll be doing absolutely everything I can to assist here.”

He added: “I’m with Ruth in wanting to avoid a no-deal Brexit. We are aiming for a new deal, as I’ve said, and that’s what I think we can achieve, with goodwill on all sides.

“But it has been the policy of the government for a long time to prepare for no-deal and that;’s what we’re going to do. 

“With high hearts and with growing confidence we will prepare for no-deal Brexit. 

“If the other side, if our friends and partners in Brussels will not change the withdrawal agreement, if they will not accommodate the will of parliament which has said three times now that they cannot accept the backstop, then obviously you’d expect us to get ready and that’s what we will do.”

Mr Johnson was due to have a private meeting with Ms Davidson after his Faslane visit, before meeting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House.


Recent opinion polls suggest Mr Johnson is more unpopular and seen as less trustworthy by voters in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, and would boost support for independence.

Asked why he was “deeply unpopular in Scotland”, he said: “As I say, I think that there is a campaign to destroy the Union and it is represented by the Scottish Nationalist Party [sic]. 

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“I think that my ambitions to take the UK out of the EU whole and entire and perfect clearly contradict the ambitions of the SNP, and I think that their policies are entirely nonsensical.” 

Ms Sturgeon has said she may accelerate her timetable for a second independence referendum in light of Mr Johnson becoming PM and the shift towards no-deal.

She has already indicated she will ask Mr Johnson for a Section 30 order empowering Holyrood to hold a fresh plebiscite.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon tells Boris Johnson: Brexit offers 'no democracy' for Scotland

Asked whether he ruled out Indyref2 while PM, Mr Johnson said he saw no reason to revisit the No result of 2014, but refused to give a flat No, something which could be used by the SNP against him. 

He said: “It was a once in a generation consultation of the people. We did it in 2014. And the people were assured then it was a once in a generation consultation. I see no reason now for the politicians to go back on that promise.”

Standing for the Tory leadership, Mr Johnson said the odds on no-deal were 1m to one.

But his cabinet office enforcer Michael Gove now says the UK Government is operating on the assumption that the EU will not budge its position and it will be no-deal on October 31

Asked if no-deal was still a one in a million chance, he said: “I think there is a very good chance that we can get a deal, and that’s what we are aiming for.”

He went on: “In our approach to the negotiations we are not going to be aloof, we are not going to be stand off-ish. We are not going to wait for our friends to come to us. We are going to reach out, we are going to engage, and we are going to ask obviously for very, very profound changes to the current basis for leaving the EU. 

“The present withdrawal agreement is dead. The backstop must go. But once the backstop goes, I think it might be possible for progress to be made.”

Speaking ahead of her meeting with Mr Johnson, Ms Sturgeon said: "The people of Scotland did not vote for this Tory government, they didn't vote for this new prime minister, they didn't vote for Brexit and they certainly didn't vote for a catastrophic no-deal Brexit which Boris Johnson is now planning for."