THE UK Government has said devolution is being used to further a "separatist agenda" in Scotland but the Prime Minister has "always supported" it.

Downing Street sources and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick have tried to explain the position after Boris Johnson's comments to a group of northern English MPs last night.

Mr Johnson told the group of around 60 Toy MPs that Scottish devolution had been a "disaster" and "Tony Blair's biggest mistake" at virtual meeting, prompting backlash from his own party as well as Labour and the SNP.

Read more: Boris Johnson deems Scottish devolution a 'disaster'

Now Downing Street sources say that the Prime Minister "has always supported devolution”, but “not when it’s used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK”.

They did not deny that he made the remarks.

Mr Jenrick also repeated the comments during interviews this morning, saying that Mr Johnson meant that devolution was facilitating the SNP's agenda.

He said: "That’s not what the Prime Minister was saying on the call that he had last night.

"The Prime Minister has always supported devolution, he wants to ensure that local people and communities can have a greater say over their own destiny, whether that’s in the devolved administrations or within England through the devolution to regional mayors."

He continued: "What he does feel strongly, and I would agree, is that devolution in Scotland has facilitated the rise of separatism and nationalism in the form of the SNP, and that that’s trying to break apart the United Kingdom and anybody, like the Prime Minister, who loves the UK, but wants to keep it together, thinks that that’s a very, very dangerous and disappointing outcome that we need to battle against."

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When asked if there should be another referendum in Scotland if the SNP won a majority at the Holyrood elections next year, Mr Jenrick said it would be "frankly mad"

He said: "Frankly, that any politician who wanted to hold a referendum on a topic like this at this moment in time, you know, is frankly, mad.

"We’re in the middle of a very serious health situation, a pandemic, and we’re also seeing massive disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods as a result of the economic disruption that’s flowed with it.

“So the focus for all of us, whether in central government, or in devolved administrations should be on battling the virus, moving forward for a more promising, optimistic 2021 and trying to save people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

Mr Johnson's comments last night caused outrage not just with opposition politicians but those within his own party.

Several Scottish Conservatives who spoke to the Herald said the remarks were "unbelievable" and could greatly jeopardise their chances in the Holyrood elections next year.

Another suggested it could 'hand independence straight into the hands of the SNP'.

Read more: Scottish Tory blasts Johnson's ministers in need of "wakeup call" and 'not focussed on whole UK'

The Prime Minister was hoping to start this week anew following the departure of two senior advisors Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain on Friday.

The pair were key figures in the Vote Leave campaign, but are understood to have created a "toxic" atmosphere at No.10, according to sources, and were at loggerheads with Mr Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds.