RUTH Davidson has banned “toxic Tories” Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove from the Scottish Conservative’s Spring conference.

The Edinburgh MSP fears the three Brexit cheerleaders are deeply unpopular north of the Border and does not want them nor other UK ministers to dominate publicity about the event in Aberdeen.

A senior Tory source told yesterday’s Sunday Herald Davidson is worried the trio are “toxic” in Scotland - even though Gove, who visited a bull auction in Stirling yesterday, grew up in Aberdeen.

Former defence secretary Michael Fallon and former international development secretary Priti Patel both spoke at last year’s conference in Glasgow and their replacements Gavin Williamson and Penny Mordant have not been invited.

A senior Scottish Tory source told the paper Davidson had approached the UK Cabinet and requested senior figures stay away.

However, as with last year’s event, Theresa May is still due to address the gathering on March 2 and March 3, in line with a long-standing convention. The Sunday Herald reported the Prime Minister and Scottish Secretary David Mundell will be the only politicians of Cabinet rank to address the full conference at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

“Ruth has told the rest of the Cabinet - apart from David Mundell who is obviously a Scottish MP - to stay away. It’s mainly because she doesn’t want folk from the party down south dominating the conference.”

Davidson took a prominent role in the Remain side ahead of the EU referendum in June 2016, debating against Johnson at Wembley stadium. Tensions between the two were apparent again last month when Davidson again rejected claims from the foreign secretary about the size of the UK’s financial contribution to the EU. Vote Leave faced criticism during the campaign after claiming the UK sent £350m a week to the EU and promising that a vote for Brexit would see the money spent on the NHS instead. The row was reignited after Johnson repeated the claim, this time to suggest the £350m figure “grossly underestimated” how much money the UK pays to the EU.

Pressed on ITV Border whether Johnson was lying, Davidson said: “Like I say, I can only take the analysis that I’ve seen, that I’ve seen from economists around the world, and we believed in the arguments that we were putting forward for remain.”

SNP MSP George Adam commented: “There was a time Ruth Davidson said she’d stand up to the hard Brexiteers, but now she’d rather just avoid them. Ruth Davidson knows exactly how toxic the Tories are in Scotland, and the shambolic handling of Brexit is only making things worse. It’s no wonder that polls show the much-vaunted Tory revival has hit the buffers.”

A Scottish Tory spokesman refused to comment on invites to the conference.