BORIS Johnson has said that devolution has been a “disaster” in Scotland, adding that he believed it was “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.

He also said that he does not “see a case” for handing down further powers from Westminster to the devolved nations.

The Prime Minister’s comments came despite repeated claims from his Tory party that the Internal Market Bill represents a “power surge” for Scotland.

Picking up on the inconsistency, the First Minister said it was “worth bookmarking these PM comments for the next time Tories say they’re not a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament - or, even more incredibly, that they support devolving more powers.

“The only way to protect & strengthen @ScotParl is with independence,” she added.

Johnson was speaking via video conference to a group of Northern English Tory MPs, many of whom won seats from Labour in the 2019 General Election.

His comments during the call, originally reported at the bottom of a story about football funding in the Sun, have caused outrage among other SNP politicians on social media.

Referring to Johnson’s claim that devolution was Blair’s “biggest mistake”, SNP MP Stephen Flynn said: “The Tories think that our Scottish Parliament was a bigger mistake than the Iraq War.

“Let that sink in.”

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said Johnson’s comments proved that the Internal Market Bill was an attack on devolution.

He said: “Tonight, there will be many Tories who will be wishing that Johnson’s self-isolation was actually a complete isolation.

“Johnson’s contempt for devolution is now there for all to see and the Internal Market Bill aims to destroy it.

“It’s time for independence.”

Stewart was joined by fellow Scottish minister Jenny Gilruth, who said: “When the Prime Minister insults devolution he is insulting more than just SNP voters; he is insulting the vast majority of the people who live and work here, and a generation of voters who’ve never known any different.”

Still more prominent SNP voices noted the shift in stance Johnson’s latest comments herald from his position at the weekend.

On Sunday, The Times reported that the Prime Minister was aiming for more “harmony” with the SNP.

Joanna Cherry wrote: “So much for the promise of a softer stance on Scotland.

“Seems Boris Johnson has told Tory MPs Scottish devolution has been a disaster and was Tony Blair’s biggest mistake. And - surprise, surprise - there’ll be no more powers for Holyrood.”

Angus Robertson added: “New 'less confrontational' Tory approach to Scotland only hours old: Boris Johnson said that 'devolution has been a disaster north of the Border'.... he told MPs he did not currently 'see a case' for handing down more powers from Westminster to the nations!”

It was not only the SNP who raged at Boris Johnson’s comments. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has had to pedal back on his boss's remarks.

Commenting, Ross tweeted: “Devolution has not been a disaster.

“The SNP’s non-stop obsession with another referendum - above jobs, schools and everything else - has been a disaster.”

Scottish Labour's Monica Lennon asked: "Who does Boris think he is helping with this attack on devolution?"

Her colleague, MSP Anas Sarwar, added: "Boris Johnson has been a disaster, not devolution. 

"The truth is he is biggest threat to the United Kingdom. 

"In the midst of a pandemic, when people’s lives & livelihoods are at risk, both our Govs should be focusing on bringing people together & getting us through this crisis."

Number 10 has been contacted by The National, but they have not yet responded to requests for comment.

However, the BBC’s Nick Eardley reported a Downing Street source as saying: “The PM has always supported devolution, but Tony Blair failed to foresee the rise of separatists in Scotland.

“Devolution is great - but not when it’s used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK.”