Tory heavyweights including Mr Johnson have been discouraged from travelling to Scotland for the event, which begins today, with Scottish Tories keen for them not to take any limelight away from Ms Davidson. However, Environment Secretary Michael Gove will be present, along with Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The move comes after Ms Davidson appeared to downplay Mr Johnson’s chances of replacing Prime Minister Theresa May as Tory leader, pointing out that he “didn’t get across the start line” last time.
Ms Davidson has been a frequent critic of Brexiteer Mr Johnson.
Her decision to distance herself from him is likely to be motivated by the fact that Scotland backed Remain in the 2016 referendum by 62 percent to 38 percent.
Mr Johnson is now expected to make a campaigning visit to the city next week.
The Guardian cited “sources close to Davidson” as saying they did not want the event to turn into an unofficial leadership hustings when the focus should in fact be on Ms Davidson herself.
She justified the decision to allow Mr Gove and Mr Javid to attend by telling STV: “There’s a lot of people want to appear at our conference.”
Ms Davidson later told Northsound 1 radio station Mrs May had her “full support” and that there was no vacancy at present, with Mrs May having only so far “given a broad timetable for the point at which she will leave”.
She added: “When that happens, when we see the candidates that are put forward, the things that I will look for as leader of the Scottish Conservatives are I want someone who is going to strengthen and have a commitment to the United Kingdom, to advance Scotland’s interests within the United Kingdom and also crucially who wants to bring the UK back together after Brexit because that’s been as divisive for the whole UK as independence has been here in Scotland.
“That’s what I want to see and I’ll assess the candidates when they put their names forward.”
Pressed on whether that would exclude Mr Johnson, she recalled how in the last leadership contest he “didn’t get across the start line” and stand for the post.
She added: “So we’ll see what the field is and then I will make my decision.”
Ms Davidson she would give Mrs May “absolutely 10 out of 10 for effort and application and tenacity” in her handling of the Brexit negotiations.
She added: “In terms of trying to get people who have become more and more entrenched to compromise was always going to be a tough ask.
“But what we’re hearing at the moment is these talks that are going on in London, we’ve seen a marked change in the mood music coming out of the room and I’m genuinely hopeful that there is a middle ground we can coalesce around to make sure there is an orderly Brexit.”
The Telegraph additionally reported Mr Johnson had been planning to travel to Aberdeen to campaign alongside MP Ross Thomson last week.
However, he had been advised by Ms Davidson against doing so until after the conference.
Express.co.uk has contacted Scottish Conservatives to ask them to clarify the situation.