BORIS Johnson is a “liability” for the Scottish Conservatives and ‘does not understand’ Scotland, senior figures have claimed.

Several senior party sources told The Herald the Prime Minister was “making life difficult” for them ahead of the Holyrood election, after he claimed devolution was “disaster” and the “biggest mistake” of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Yesterday Mr Johnson’s official spokesman attempted to clarify what the Prime Minister had meant when he made the remarks at a meeting with northern English MPs on Monday night.

Downing Street claimed Mr Johnson will “be the voice of the majority of Scots” and said he “fully supported devolution”.

His spokesman said: “This government continues to put the union at the heart of all that we do.

“Now more than ever is the time for the United Kingdom to be pulling together to focus on defeating this virus.

“The PM has been clear that he thinks the four corners of the UK are stronger together and he will be the voice of the majority of Scottish people who voted decisively to keep the UK together, and he will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom.

“He is very clear that he rejects the SNP’s call to break up the UK”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is understood to have communicated his anger over the remarks directly to the Prime Minister on Monday and publicly said that devolution “has not been a disaster”.

He said: “Devolution is not the problem, the nationalist administration in Edinburgh is the problem because they use the tools of devolution and the levers of power, not to benefit, every single individual in every single community right across Scotland, but to further their aim to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“The SNP will use anything they can to further the ambition to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, and to take the focus away from their domestic record.”

Several senior Scottish Conservative party figures have told the Herald the Prime Minister is now a “liability” in the run up to the Holyrood elections.

One source said: “This is not what we need right now, six months from the elections. Boris is turning in to a liability, and he needs to stop talking about issues that he clearly does not understand.

“Devolution has not been a disaster by any means, and while I think he is talking about the way it has been weaponised by the SNP, it isn’t coming across like that.”

Alastair Campbell, Labour spin doctor under Tony Blair at the time when devolution was introduced, told The Herald that the Prime Minister was failing to see how his Brexit problems were contributing to the rise in support for independence.

He said; “In typical Johnson take-no-responsibility fashion, he cannot see that it is his Brexit that has fanned the flames of the call for separation and it was devolution that helped to calm them.

“It is Brexit that is risking the Union in two parts and he hasn’t a clue how to address the problems he, his Brexit lies and his false promises have created.”

Meanwhile Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said the remarks showed Mr Johnson’s true “power grab” intentions.

He said: “It’s now as clear as day that Boris Johnson’s Tory government - which Scotland did not vote for - intends to turn the rhetoric against devolution into reality by orchestrating a huge power grab against the devolved Parliaments.

“The Tory government’s Internal Market Bill is nothing short of a naked power grab that will undermine the Scottish Parliament, dismantle the devolution settlement and allow Westminster to hoard powers.

“Boris Johnson’s remarks that devolution has been a ‘disaster’ and that it was a ‘mistake’ only further exposes the blatant power grab intentions.”

And the Liberal Democrats MP for Orkney Alistair Carmichael added that Sots deserved “a better voice”.

He said: “If the ‘Minister for the Union’ does not believe that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people then he is not up to the job. Instead of undermining devolution he should be seeking to expand it.