BORIS Johnson has been warned that Tory attempts to block indyref2 are “doomed to fail.”

The SNP’s Keith Brown said the Prime Minister’s “Trump-like bid to deny democracy by blocking the people of Scotland having a say” would get short shrift from voters.

Johnson is due to make his first appearance at the Scottish Tory conference as leader today. But his address to the party faithful will be overshadowed by comments earlier this week, when he told MPs from the north of England that Scottish devolution had been a “disaster” and “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.

In an email to party members yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister insisted he would be using his speech to convey his “commitment to devolution”.

Johnson said: “In Douglas Ross we have a leader of our party in Scotland who is the very personification of Unionism, someone who believes deeply in the United Kingdom and in fighting for Scotland’s best interests within that Union.

“Under his leadership the Scottish Conservatives will help to put aside the focus on separation and build the better and brighter future we all want for Scotland and the whole United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister also urged supporters to put their hands in their pockets and help Ross and the Scottish Tories “prepare for next year’s historic Parliamentary elections.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said, the Scottish Tories were in “deep trouble”.

“The people of Scotland will see straight through their feeble and cowardly attempts to justify Boris Johnson’s absurd attack on devolution,” he said.

The MSP also accused Ross of being “completely incapable of standing up to his bosses at Westminster.”

Brown said: “Support for independence is on the rise, and the Tories can see that – which is why their Trump-like bid to deny democracy by blocking the people of Scotland having a say on their future is doomed to fail.

“It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is to become an independent, European country. The people of Scotland deserve a choice over our future.”

In his speech, Ross is set to call for the Scottish Government to devolve more powers to communities over planning.

The party’s next manifesto will include a commitment to give communities a veto on unwanted developments and stop Scottish Ministers overruling local planning decisions so easily.

He will also announce plans for a programme of Community Investment Deals, where “local communities would have a greater say in directing UK and Scottish government investment.”

Ross said: “The SNP’s focus on centralisation has undermined local decision-making across Scotland.

“While they constantly complain to the UK about powers and cash, they have shamelessly grabbed both from local areas for 13 years.

“We in the Scottish Conservatives will stand up for all the communities, villages and towns that have been left behind.”

Ross said: “We would also give communities the power to prevent Scottish Ministers forcing a development on them that they don’t want. At the moment, there are too many examples where hundreds of local objections are dismissed.

“This is not about preventing development, it is about promoting development that benefits local areas. To rebuild our communities, we must ensure that new developments are improving, not damaging them.”

Scottish Greens communities spokesperson Andy Wightman said this was surprising from Ross given that the Tories had voted against a similar proposal in Holyrood.

“The Greens have long called for communities to have far more power in planning decisions, but when the Conservatives had the opportunity in 2019 to strengthen such rights they voted against my amendments in the planning bill,” he said.

“If this new approach were sincere then it would be welcome, but from the party of big business and big landowners, it will take more that warm words at a party conference to persuade voters that the Conservatives mean what they say.”

Ross is also expected to make a push to scrap the not proven verdict.

Scotland is the only part of the UK where juries can return three verdicts at the end of a trial – guilty, not guilty or not proven.

Ross said the controversial not proven verdict “serves no purpose in a modern justice system”.