Boris Johnson had pledged to hold “frequent” talks with Scottish Tory MPs to discuss issues affecting Scotland and how to protect the Union if he enters Downing Street.
The promise came at a “positive” meeting between the frontrunner for the Tory leadership and almost all the party’s Scottish MPs, which one senior source described as a “pledge of loyalty”.
Eleven of the 13-strong Scottish group were present for the 45-minute meeting, including Scottish Secretary David Mundell.
It is understood that Mr Johnson was joined by Sir Edward Lister, who served as his chief of staff during his time as Mayor of London, and is expected to fill the same role in Number 10.
Sources described being impressed with Mr Johnson’s commitment to protect the integrity of the UK and improve Downing Street’s engagement with Scottish issues. However, Mr Johnson was told that reform of Whitehall to better protect the Union “can’t wait until after Brexit”.
He has committed to a “Union unit” in Number 10, and wants to appoint himself “Minister for the Union” in order to personally ensure that government decisions work for the whole UK.
Last night Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt took part in the final hustings of the leadership campaign.
After both had ruled out accepting a Brexit deal that includes a backstop plan for the Irish border, even if a time limit is imposed, Work and Pensions Secretary Ms Rudd, who backs Mr Hunt in the election, said she was “surprised” by the hardline stance taken.
Ms Rudd told the Politico website: “I think they will find they have to compromise... I think their views will collide with the reality when whichever one wins, starts negotiating and starts dealing with a Parliament.”