BORIS Johnson is unpopular in Scotland as people believe he’s incompetent, according to the former boss of the 2014 Yes campaign.

Blair Jenkins made the point after opinion polls gave the Prime Minister low approval ratings over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m not sure if he is personally disliked, if there is any strong antipathy to him on a personal level,” Jenkins told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland yesterday.

“I think people in Scotland have formed an opinion that he is incompetent, that he is just the wrong guy in a job that he’s not capable of doing. And I think that is now a pretty fully formed opinion which is going to be really difficult for him to shift.”

A Panelbase poll in the Sunday Times earlier this month found strong backing for Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, with the First Minister’s approval rating on the issue at 60 points. Johnson’s approval rating on the crisis was at minus 39 points.

The same poll put support for a Yes vote in an independence referendum at 54% and support for No at 46%.

The Prime Minister has come under pressure over his handling of the pandemic as the UK has among the largest number of deaths from coronavirus in the world. Only the United States and Brazil, which have much larger populations, have a higher death toll from the virus.

Questions have been raised as to why Johnson missed five Cobra meetings on the virus and did not chair one of the emergency planning meetings until early March.

He has also been criticised over a decision to introduce lockdown later than other European countries.

Professor Neil Ferguson, a scientist on the UK Government’s Sage advisory group, warned on March 16 that 500,000 people would die if the government did not lock down the country. However, it took until March 23 for Johnson to urge people to “stay at home”. Ferguson later said locking down a week earlier would have saved 20,000 lives.

Johnson was also criticised for failing to sack his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who breached lockdown rules to stay at home to drive to a cottage on his parents’ farm in Durham from London. Health experts said Johnson was undermining his own public health message by failing to sack Cummings.

There have also been questions over confused messaging over the wearing of face masks in shops in England. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said they shouldn’t be compulsory just days before the government announced they would be.

Ramsay Jones, a former special adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, denied Johnson had politicised his visit to Scotland. Responding to Jenkins, he told the BBC: “If the First Minister visits anywhere in Scotland to demonstrate or encourage or to praise people for the work they are doing through this crisis, that’s good.

“The Prime Minister choose to go to industries and to the military and to other people who are making an enormous contribution through this crisis and equally both are valid and right.”

Johnson admitted last week the government “could have done things differently” in its handling of coronavirus and there are “very open questions” about whether lockdown was introduced too late.