RUTH Davidson has expressed her hope that Boris Johnson will defy expectations and undergo a character transformation to become a better Prime Minister than many predict.

The Scottish Tory leader compared Mr Johnson to the wayward and irresponsible Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry plays, who grows up to become the wise and capable King Henry V.

She said: “I can only hope that we will see that.”

Ms Davidson – who has a strained relationship with Mr Johnson – made the comments during an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Asked how she thinks she will get on with the new Prime Minister on a personal level, she said: “I am a strong believer and I was taught when I was in the TA [Territorial Army] that you salute the rank, not the person that wears it, and I am utterly professional about what I do.

“I genuinely believe that if the Prime Minister does well, the country does well, so I genuinely want him to do well.

“I want him to land a [Brexit] deal, and any background that we have I think is completely irrelevant to looking out for the national interest – and I will always endeavour to do that to the best of my ability and for what I think that it is.

“I personally don’t think that no deal is in the national interest, which is why I am arguing against it – and that’s where some of the clash that is written up comes from.

“I also have been very fortunate in my life to have met a number of prime ministers, both from the Conservative Party and from the Labour Party, and have been lucky enough to have seen behind the door in Number 10 both in peacetime and when it is chaotic, and I can absolutely categorically say, 100 per cent, that there is no job in the world that prepares you for being Prime Minister of this country.

“And I think that most fair minded people will judge Boris Johnson not on what he was like as a journalist or as a Mayor of London or as a foreign secretary, but they will judge him on what he is like as a Prime Minister and I will judge him on what he is like as a Prime Minister and you cannot tell from what has gone before what will come next.

“Also as an English literature graduate my favourite play is Henry V, and I know in Henry IV you have got a young prince Hal that everyone writes off who turns into something better, and I can only hope that we will see that.”

Prince Hal is initially portrayed as a rebellious youth before maturing into the monarch who defeats the French at Agincourt.

Ms Davidson has been seen as one of Mr Johnson’s fiercest critics within the Conservative Party.

She backed his rivals during the recent leadership race and has repeatedly warned of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit.

Her close ally and friend David Mundell was also sacked as Scottish secretary within hours of Mr Johnson securing the keys to Number 10.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Tory leader – who gave birth to her son Finn last year – spoke of her struggle to switch off from politics during maternity leave.

She said she was “on phone calls most days” but stayed out of the public eye, causing some of her party colleagues to take liberties.

She said: “While I was doing a lot behind the scenes, there was almost total radio silence from me in public.

“In turns out there is a backlash to that, on the grounds that if you can’t say anything in public, lots of people in order to write a story will write, ‘It is believed that Ruth Davidson thinks X, Y and Z.’

“And I wasn’t able to go, ‘That’s actually not true’.

“Or people saying that they were talking with my authority when they weren’t – people within the party, suggesting to other people within the party that Ruth thinks this, Ruth thinks that.

“Actually, Ruth thinks nothing of the bloody sort. So that had to be sorted. But I’m back, so it’s all fine – I’m back.”

Ms Davidson was being interviewed by Olympic champion Katherine Grainger about her book Yes She Can: Why Women Own The Future.

She said she wanted to have more children with her partner Jen.

She said: “I have one son – I would quite like to have a larger family.

“Although Jen’s having it – one and I’m done.”