Douglas Ross confirmed Boris Johnson is not expected to head north during the Scottish election campaign – but would not say if that was a blessing in disguise.
Mr Ross, MP for Moray, effectively ruled out a visit before the May 6 election.
The Prime Minister had earlier said “wild horses” would not keep him away, and Scottish Tory leader Mr Ross hoped the UK leader would join him.
But speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Mr Ross said the pandemic made it tough to organise.
‘It’s our campaign’
“This is a very different campaign, it’s not as simple and as easy or as straightforward,” he said.
“At the moment I don’t believe the prime minister will be coming up given the circumstances we’re dealing with and the fact he continues to lead the UK Government’s response to Covid-19, the vaccine roll-out and getting us through this pandemic.
“I’m in touch with the prime minister. He understands it’s our campaign, being led by me up here in Scotland.”
Mr Ross would not confirm if any other UK minister might pitch in to campaign with his candidates.
Asked if Mr Johnson’s absence would be a blessing in disguise, Mr Ross would only say: “I work closely with the Prime Minister. He knows the campaign we’re running here in Scotland and he’s absolutely behind the Scottish Conservative efforts to stop an SNP majority and to the focus of Scottish politics back on recovery.”