Douglas Ross has argued that Boris Johnson's unpopularity in Scotland is irrelevant in the Holyrood election as the SNP raised the prospect of another independence referendum this year if Nicola Sturgeon gets a majority. The Scottish Tory leader accepted the Prime Minister would "play a role" in the campaign ahead of the planned May 6 ballot but insisted the party he leads is "distinct" from the UK Conservatives. Pressed whether Mr Johnson was a "help of hindrance" to him, with the Prime Minister having low approval ratings in Scotland, Mr Ross did not directly answer the question but noted that "he is not standing for election to Holyrood - I am." The SNP is expected to argue that Scots need to choose at the ballot box between being ruled by Mr Johnson or having another vote on separating from the UK, with Ms Sturgeon at the helm. But, following a week in which Ms Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have traded a barrage of accusations and blows, Mr Ross said the SNP's "lies and deceit" were damaging public trust in the Scottish Parliament. He said the Nationalists had used their 14 years in in government to focus on "division, constitutional wrangling, and trying to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom" rather than improving the education system or the NHS. His intervention came as Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, insisted again that another separation referendum could be staged this year if Ms Sturgeon succeeds in winning a majority in May.