BORIS Johnson has stressed that “wild horses won’t keep me away” from visiting Scotland during May’s election campaign.

The Prime Minister was speaking on a visit to Scotland, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned was not an essential reason to travel from London north of the border.

Mr Johnson was asked whether his relationship with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who quit his Cabinet over the Dominic Cummings fiasco, could mean local Tory politicians may want the Prime Minister to stay away from campaigning.

He told The Herald: “First of all, I think Douglas Ross is doing a terrific job and I think it is very, very important to hold the Scottish National Party to account.

“We need to see Scotland doing better on education, I want to see Scotland doing better on tackling crime and tackling drugs. I think we can do better and I think Douglas is the man to get those points over.”

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The Prime Minister added: “As for campaigning, wild horses won’t keep me away.

“I’ll be campaigning across the whole of the country.”

Mr Johnson claimed that the Scottish Government's failings is “a mark of their general diversionary tactics that they continue to talk about a referendum rather than domestic, political concerns”.

He added: “I can’t say when I’ll be here again but it won’t be too long – I can assure you of that.”

Downing Street has defended the Prime Minister’s decision to visit Scotland after criticism from the Scottish Government over the need for the journey.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “It is a fundamental part of the Prime Minister’s job to go out and see businesses and communities and people.

“These are Covid-related visits. You’ve seen the Prime Minister do a number of them over the past few weeks.

“It is obviously important that he is continuing to meet and see those who are on the front line in terms of those who are providing tests, in terms of those who are working so hard to deliver the vaccination plan.”