Boris Johnson’s plans to spend more time in Scotland after Brexit could be “one of the best recruiting tools” for the independence movement, according to senior SNP sources.

The Herald reported the Prime Minister was seeking to “strengthen union ties” by hosting more cabinet meetings in Scotland after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on January 31.

However, prominent pro-independence backers have welcomed the move, claiming the Tory leader is “kidding himself” if he believes being seen north of the border will change public opinion of him.

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SNP MP Pete Wishart told The National: “ “Boris Johnson thinks he’s doing the Union a favour by pledging to spend more time in Scotland, but the reality is that this toxic Tory Prime Minister is one of the best recruiting tools for the Scottish independence movement.”

Conservative sources told The Herald they expected Scotland to “warm” to the Prime Minister once he is “seen on the ground” in the country.

It comes after Mr Johnson rejected First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s section 30 order for a second independence referendum.

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A spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell said: “Boris Johnson is kidding himself if he thinks making more trips to Scotland is going to boost his popularity or do anything to bolster the Union.

“It is more likely to have completely the opposite effect, because the more that the people of Scotland see and hear of Boris Johnson and his out of touch, arrogant gang of ministers, the more that support for independence will grow.

“If the Prime Minister wants to make more trips to Scotland he is very welcome to – but he should be in no doubt about the likely impact it will have.”