Johnson in Scotland: Was PM's toughest meeting with Ruth Davidson?

Ruth Davidson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ruth Davidson and Boris Johnson have had their differences in the past - notably in the Brexit debate

PM Johnson said he had come to Scotland to renew the ties that bind the United Kingdom. Yet his trickiest task may be to try and restore the ties between him and the leadership of his Scottish party.

On Monday, during his first trip to Scotland as prime minister, Mr Johnson met the first minister of Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon was expected to tell him that Scotland did not vote for Brexit and they certainly didn't vote for a "catastrophic no deal Brexit."

But his toughest meeting might not have been with the FM, but with the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

Ms Davidson made no secret of the fact that she did not want Mr Johnson as PM.

And in the few days since he took charge relations have already gone further south.

He ignored his Scottish leader's advice not to sack the Scottish Secretary David Mundell and replace him with the pro-Brexit MP Alister Jack.

He then further snubbed the Scottish contingent of parliamentarians when he put an MP who sits for an English seat into the Scotland office as a minister.

Image copyright Jeff J Mitchell
Image caption Boris Johnson went on board HMS Victorious at the Faslane Naval Base Clyde ahead of key political meetings in Edinburgh

Ms Davidson has said publicly that she would not support a no-deal exit from the EU and that as leader of the Scottish party she does not have to sign up to any loyalty pledge to support a no deal.

She believes the PM would have sacked her if he could. But he can't - and she will take full advantage of her ability to speak out in public.

Ms Davidson is highly regarded by Tories as she led the party from having one MP in Scotland to 13.

But not all of those MPs are lining up behind her - most of them will support the PM if push comes to shove. Contrast that with Scottish Conservative MSPs who are more loyal to Ms Davidson. However, they don't have any votes in the House of Commons.

Talk of the Scottish Conservatives forming a breakaway party is premature. Ms Davidson says she will not allow it to happen on her watch. And a Scottish separation is not exactly a good look for a party that is supposed to be wholeheartedly supporting the Union between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It may not solve any issues for the Tories in Scotland anyway. As one former Tory strategist put it to me - when they rebranded Marathon bars as Snickers they still had peanuts inside and if you have a nut allergy they are still a problem