THE First Minister has demanded Boris Johnson apologise to voters in Scotland “for the chaos” of the last few years when he heads to the north east today on a General Election campaign visit.

Speaking ahead of the Prime Minister’s arrival, Nicola Sturgeon described Johnson as a “prime architect of the Brexit vote and the “utter shambles” it had led to.

“The only thing Boris Johnson should be coming to Scotland to do today is apologise for the chaos he and his party have subjected us to for years,” she said.

“A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”

Johnson’s election campaign got off to a disastrous start yesterday with the resignation of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns over his links to a Conservative candidate accused of sabotaging a rape trial.

He is thought to be the first Cabinet minister in modern times to have quit during the course of a General Election campaign.

It came at the end of a chaotic 24 hours for the Tories, which saw the Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg forced to apologise for comments about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Tories also faced criticism for a campaign video featuring a “doctored” interview with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

And Johnson himself came under fire after likening Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to Stalin, over the Soviet leader’s persecution of Russian landowners in the 1930s.

Sturgeon added: “The SNP are the main challengers in every single Tory seat in Scotland, and we will do our bit in trying to ensure his time in Downing Street has already come to an end.

“On his visit to Scotland today, Boris Johnson should apologise not just for the Brexit mess he has created, but also for a decade of Tory austerity that has caused so much misery for so many.

“He should also come clean on his Brexit deal and his plans for a No-Deal exit in barely over a year’s time if a trade deal cannot be agreed. That would be a disaster for Scotland and the rest of the UK, and it underlines the huge threat the Tories pose.”

The National: Boris Johnson likened Corbyn to StalinBoris Johnson likened Corbyn to Stalin

She continued: “Whatever happens in this election, Brexit will not in any sense be done – even if a deal is ultimately passed. It is an issue which is set to dominate Westminster politics, one way or another, for many years to come. That is why it is vital Scotland chooses to escape Brexit by opting for a better future with independence.”

The Prime Minister was forced to delay his final speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street before hitting the campaign trail, because of Cairns’ sudden resignation.

The Welsh Secretary said he was standing down “in light of continued speculation” about allegations relating to the “actions of a party employee and candidate for the Welsh Assembly elections in the Vale of Glamorgan”.

He had claimed he was unaware of the role played by his former staff member, Ross England, in the collapse of a rape trial, until after the story broke last week.

However, he was accused of “brazenly lying” after BBC Wales said it had obtained a leaked email which showed he had been made aware of the allegations as early as August last year. Cairns said he would “co-operate in full” with an investigation into his actions under the Ministerial Code, adding he was confident he would be cleared of “any breach or wrong doing”. He also intends to stand for re-election.

Earlier, the PM travelled to Buckingham Palace for a final audience with the Queen, even though Parliament had already been dissolved. And speaking outside No 10, afterwards he acknowledged there was little public appetite for an election before Christmas. But he said Parliament’s refusal to deliver Brexit – which had left him wanting to “chew my own tie” in frustration - meant he had no choice but to go to the country.

He said if he was returned to Downing Street on December 12 with a “sensible majority government”, they would “get Brexit done” in January, releasing a “flood of pent-up investment”, adding that "hundreds of billions are waiting to pour into the UK".