NICOLA Sturgeon has described Boris Johnson as a “complete and utter charlatan” and said the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister will “horrify” people across Scotland, as well as triggering terror amongst Scottish Tories.

The First Minister made the comments yesterday, a day after Johnson confirmed that he intended to run for the leadership of the Tory Party when Theresa May steps down.

She suggested on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that if he were successful in his leadership bid, it could encourage more people to back Scotland becoming an independent country.

“I think it would lead to many more people thinking that the best future for Scotland is to be independent so that we can protect our interests, that we can take our own decisions, that we can co-operate with other independent countries across the European Union for our mutual interest,” said the First Minister.

“In other words, be a normal, progressive independent country.

“Boris Johnson, the guy who misled people in the Brexit vote, the guy who has only ever put his own interests first as far as I can see – a complete and utter charlatan in my opinion.

“The prospect of him becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom is, I think, one that will horrify many people across Scotland.

“Even the Scottish Tories here are terrified at the prospect because I think they know what it would do to their standing.”

LISTEN: Wee Ginger Dugcast: BBC at it again and the terrifying Tories

Asked whether she “feels sorry” for the Prime Minister, Sturgeon said: “I as a leader, as somebody who’s First Minister, I understand the pressures of leadership.

“And I understand how tough and challenging, often lonely, that position is.

“So on a personal level, yes I can feel a degree of sympathy about the difficult set of circumstances she’s had to deal with.

“That said, I don’t think she has played the hand she was given particularly well.

“I think she’s taken a lot of decisions that nobody made her take that has made the situation a lot worse.”

On Brexit, Sturgeon added that the European election was the only way for Scottish voters to signal that they wanted to remain in Europe.

She said: “Everybody knows the question of independence will be solved in a referendum. In this election, if you want to send the clearest possible message that Scotland’s not for Brexit, that Scotland wants to remain at the heart of Europe, then the best way to do that undoubtedly is to vote SNP.”