BORIS Johnson is set to claim that the union has never been stronger when he arrives in Scotland today – despite a series of polls showing most Scots now back independence.

The Prime Minister – who celebrates his first year in office tomorrow – will be north of the Border amid reports that the Tory Government is in “full-blown panic mode” over the rising support for Scottish independence.

Panelbase surveys published in June and July found 54% of Scots would now vote Yes, a five-point surge since March.

Last week, Professor John Curtice, the UK’s foremost psephologist, said it was the first time in Scottish polling history when the pro-independence side were favourites to win.

Keith Brown, the SNP depute leader, said: “The only reason Boris Johnson is coming here is because he is in full-blown panic mode amid rising support for independence.”

In remarks released ahead of the visit, the Prime Minister claimed the coronavirus had proven the “sheer might of our Union”.

Johnson said: “When I stood on the steps of Downing Street one year ago, I pledged to be a Prime Minister for every corner of the United Kingdom. Whether you are from East Kilbride or Dumfries, Motherwell or Paisley, I promised to level up across Britain and close the opportunity gap.

“The last six months have shown exactly why the historic and heartfelt bond that ties the four nations of our country together is so important and the sheer might of our Union has been proven once again.

“In Scotland, the UK’s magnificent armed forces have been on the ground doing vital work to support the NHS, from setting up and running mobile testing sites to airlifting critically ill patients to hospitals from some of Scotland’s most remote communities. And the UK Treasury stepped in to save the jobs of a third of Scotland’s entire workforce and kept the wolves at bay for tens of thousands of Scottish businesses.

“More than ever, this shows what we can achieve when we stand together, as one United Kingdom.”

Johnson – whose last trip to Scotland was in November when he attended the Scottish Tory manifesto launch in North Queensferry – is due to meet with members of the military during his visit today.

He’ll also meet with Jackson Carlaw, but not with Nicola Sturgeon.

Yesterday, the First Minister urged the Prime Minister and any visitors from elsewhere in the UK to follow Scottish Government guidance when they travel into Scotland.

Speaking at the briefing on coronavirus, the First Minister said: “I’ve no plans to meet the Prime Minister tomorrow – I’m always happy to meet the Prime Minister if he wants to.

“I’m always happy to welcome people to Scotland but I would ask anyone coming to, the Prime Minister included, to make sure that they follow all the FACTS advice while they are here and I’m sure he’ll be doing that.”

Sturgeon went on: “Look we’re all very focused on the immediate priority of continuing to suppress Covid and I look forward to working with the UK Government on that basis.

“We’ve got our political disagreements, we’ve got disagreements over aspects of Scotland and the UK’s future and I’m sure we’ll continue to discuss those constructively as well.”

Reports yesterday suggested Johnson will use the visit to talk about plans for the bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

According to reports, he is likely to confirm funding for a feasibility study into the crossing.

Proposals for a “Celtic crossing” were first revealed in The National by architect Alan Dunlop.

He said the bridge would help establish “closer social, cultural and political relations between the UK, Scotland and Ireland in the shifting post Brexit climate and after the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Graeme Roy, from the Fraser of Allander Institute said the money “could be better spent” elsewhere.