DOUGLAS Ross has admitted there have been "troubles and difficulties" in No 10's Union Unit after two key advisers quit in a fortnight.

Oliver Lewis, a veteran of the Vote Leave Brexit campaign, left on Friday and is reported to have said his position was made “untenable” by others within Number 10.

He had replaced former Scottish MP Luke Graham as head of the unit earlier in February, who lasted less than a year in the job.

READ MORE: Former Union Unit head outlines plan to combat SNP's 'fanatical separatism'

Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, was asked on an Institute for Government livestream if the UK Government has a strategy to save the Union.

He said: "Does the UK Government have a Unionist strategy? Absolutely. I'm involved in political cabinet. I meet regularly with the Prime Minister and secretaries of state. Obviously Michael Gove plays a key role. The Prime Minister also has the title of Minister for the Union. Alister Jack as Scottish Secretary is closely involved with all that as well.

"Look, there's no point trying to hide from the fact there's been troubles and difficulties with all this. That's been very clear but it doesn't mean the underlying aim of this government and all Conservative and Unionists is not to protect Scotland's role in the United Kingdom.

"I'll end this by saying if we're looking at disunity in government you don't just have to look at Westminster and the UK Government. Look at the mess the SNP are in right now. After 14 years of failure at Holyrood they have let down so many areas of public life, whether it be health, education, our economy, and they are in an internal battle between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond."

Akash Paun, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, who was interviewing Ross said "that's a conversation for another day".

WATCH: FM hits out at Union Unit for saying knowledge of Scotland isn't needed

Asked if there were any circumstances in which he would allow indyref2 to take place, Ross said: "No I don't want that. I didn't want to have a divisive referendum in 2014 but clearly there was a process that allowed that. A legitimate, legal process. We were told by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP that was the gold standard of referendums and they would respect the outcome of that referendum and they clearly didn't.

"I am committed to convincing people who have potentially moved from No to Yes or those who are Yes last time but now aren't sure. There has been movement both ways and pollsters have identified that."

He went on: "It is a legitimate criticism that those of us who voted against Scotland going independent back in 2014 that we thought we'd won that argument because we weren told it's once in a generation then we thought we could go away and focus on other things.

"The nationalists never did, they continued their campaign for separation but also when they were behind in the votes, further behind than the Union currently is, they never gave up. They continued to fight for what they believe in so that's why people on the opposite side of the argument have to continue to fight for what we believe.

"I think it's got to be both head and heart. We have to look at the financial complications of coming out of the most financially successful Union the world has seen and we've got to look at how we can show what the UK provides to Scotland and what Scotland provides to the UK. The pandemic has shown exactly how we can work together."

Ross said Chancellor Rishi Sunak's furlough scheme has protected jobs in all four nations of the UK.

It comes as SNP MP Stewart Hosie said taxpayers have a right to know how much public money the Prime Minister has spent on his anti-independence campaign.

He said spending was “spiralling out of control”, including salaries of £110,000-£114,999 for Lewis and £90,000-£94,999 for Graham.

Hosie said another example was an estimated £1-£2 million for an additional 30 to 50 officials that Downing Street sources told the media would be hired.

He said: “The Tories are in turmoil and their anti-independence campaign is in tatters. Boris Johnson must come clean over how much taxpayers’ money he has wasted on this shambles.

“This is the latest example of Tory cronyism, with jobs for the boys being handed out like sweeties.

“Spending on Tory advisers is spiralling out of control, while the public foots the bill for their six figure salaries. Taxpayers have a right to know how much money is being spent.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson urged to reveal Union Unit's cost to taxpayer

He added: “Twenty-one consecutive polls have shown a majority for independence. Despite what the Tories claim in public, there is no doubt they are gearing up for a post-pandemic referendum.”

On Saturday it was claimed Lewis had quit after being accused of briefing against Michael Gove, with one source saying it was a “complete clear out” of anyone associated with departed former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings.