BORIS Johnson’s victory in the Tory leadership race marks the defeat of the Scottish Conservatives’ campaign to keep the ex Foreign Secretary out of Number 10.

Before the UK party’s conference last year senior figures launched”Operation Arse” to stop Johnson becoming PM after internal polling showed he would reverse Tory gains.

Strategists concluded Johnson would cost the Scottish Tories the 12 Westminster gains they made in 2017 and undermine any chance of Ruth Davidson winning the 2021 Holyrood elections.

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But as Johnson emerged as the Tory victor leading figures were forced to fall in behind him.

Leader Ruth Davidson, who had in turn backed Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt in the contest, tweeted: “I congratulate Boris Johnson on his victory and offer commiserations to Jeremy Hunt. This was a keenly fought leadership campaign and the Conservative party can be proud of the manner in which it has been conducted.

“Mr Johnson takes over the leadership at an incredibly challenging time for our country, and he has an enormous task ahead of him.

“My priority as Scottish Conservative leader is to ensure that he will deliver for Scotland within the UK, stop Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts to take us back to a second independence referendum, and prevent Jeremy Corbyn from getting to Number 10.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell – who last year said Johnson was “not an asset for the Scottish Conservative Party” – stood ready to serve. He tweeted: “I congratulate Boris Johnson on his clear win in the leadership contest. Our party must now unite behind the new leader and Prime Minister, so we can get on with the job of delivering Brexit, whilst maintaining a strong United Kingdom.”

Responding to Mundell’s tweet, Nicola Sturgeon noted: “Sec of State for Scotland completes his journey from ‘I couldn’t serve in a Boris Johnson Cabinet’ to ‘please don’t sack me’. Principle, credibility and dignity out the window.”

One Scots Tory who did not need to change his stance was MP Ross Thomson. The long standing Johnson supporter tweeted: “I’m delighted the membership have emphatically backed @BorisJohnson as our new leader and Prime Minister. Boris will unite our country, strengthen our United Kingdom and fulfil our promise to the people by delivering Brexit by the 31st of October.”