THE Scottish Tories fear having their Holyrood election funding cut by the UK party if Douglas Ross doesn't fall in behind Boris Johnson, it is being reported.

Ross has found himself at odds with Downing Street over free school meals, furlough and benefits payments in recent weeks.

The Moray MP resigned as a junior minister in the Scotland Office in May after the Prime Minister's controversial former chief aide, Dominic Cummings, defended a trip to County Durham during the spring lockdown.

Ross said at the time that the senior adviser's view of the government guidance was "not shared by the vast majority of people".

And further tensions between the Scottish and UK Tories sensationally erupted on Monday after Johnson told a group of 60 Conservative MPs from the north of England that devolution for Scotland had been "a disaster" and Tony Blair's "biggest mistake".

The internal row have now led some to fear that it could lead to the UK party being more reluctant to bankroll Ross's leadership and help fund his Holyrood election campaign, according to The Times' report.

"When the election comes around it will be London paying for leaflets, ad vans and Facebook advertising,” a source told the paper. “It will be harder for Mark McInnes [Lord McInnes of Kilwinning, the Scottish party director] to get the money if Douglas keeps criticising him [the Prime Minister].”

Ross, who has used multiple speeches to criticise the UK Government’s actions as boosting support for independence, criticised “off-the-cuff” comments around the constitution.

"My words are that devolution can deliver for Scotland if those with the levers of power are interested in improving education, our health service, our justice system, funding for local government, rebuilding our economy after a pandemic,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

Tory MSPs - most of whom backed Johnson's rival Jeremy Hunt in last year's Conservative leadership contest - have been critical of the performance of Johnson, whose personal polling ratings are very negative in Scotland while First Minister's approval ratings are high. One recent survey reported that Scots loathed Johnson.

"It’s getting worse,” one Scottish Tory told The Times. “At the start people were willing to wait and see if he could charm people around and use his charisma.

"Now he’s the only f***er who has been floored twice by Covid. You wouldn’t get Sturgeon catching it then having to isolate again because of it."

A former Scottish Tory chairman Peter Duncan told The National yesterday the "disaster" comment row over devolution could re-open moves towards the party splitting from the UK Tories.

"This is the kind of attitude that is a problem," said Duncan, a former MP, who is no longer a party member.

"I have always believed a more independent and devolved structure for the party in Scotland would be an advantage and nothing currently is telling me that that is not going to be the long-term outcome."

He added that the new structure would be similar to the relationship between the CDU in Germany and the CSU in Bavaria.

"I believe this would be a step forward and reflect the devolved situation we have in Scotland. It would mean the party would be able to take local decisions that reflect local circumstances.

"In my mind there is nothing wrong in the Scottish party having distinct views [from the Westminster party] it would be like the relationship between the CDU and CSU in Germany. It would be a much more productive and much more mutually respectful party structure."

Pressed on the timing for the split, Duncan, who was the only Scottish Conservative MP from 2001 to 2005, added: "As to when it will happen, that depends on a whole range of things, including whether there's internal support for it.

"Clearly if I think it is a better thing then I also think the sooner it happens would put the party in a better position."

The Scottish Tories have long had a difficult relationship with Johnson - with some parliamentarians believing his toxicity in Scotland is hindering the party's fortunes and electoral chances.

Earlier this month it emerged Johnson had been told by senior Scottish Tories to stay away from Scotland in the run up to the Holyrood election campaign amid fears he would hinder rather than help their prospects.

Last year the Scottish Tories were looking at plans to split from the UK Tories ahead of Johnson becoming Tory leader.

But the consideration was pushed aside at the time with some thinking such a move should not be done so close to the Holyrood election.

In 2011 Murdo Fraser put forward proposals for a separate Scottish Tory party during his leadership bid against Ruth Davidson.

But Fraser, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife, was defeated in the contest to take charge of the party.

Earlier this month former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish forecast the Tories were on the brink of a political civil war after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack ruled out another referendum for 25 to 40 years.

“Douglas Ross has been making some interesting comments over the past few weeks taking on the UK Government,” said the former Labour First Minister.

"He is acknowledging quietly that the Tories are in deep trouble and their position on the constitution cannot survive.

“My belief is if Alister Jack is doing the bidding of Boris Johnson then there is going to be an almighty stramash and that they could be heading for a political civil on the eve of one of the most important Scottish elections to take place in recent times.”

The Scottish Conservatives declined to comment.