Despite the Conservatives’ relative weakness north of the border, around one in six party members are believed to live in Scotland.
It could prove fertile territory for the Foreign Secretary as surveys suggest that Boris Johnson is less popular among Scottish than English activists.
‘I believe in the Union’
In a visit to Aberdeenshire, Mr Hunt argued that the First Minister feared him because of his strong commitment to keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom.
He claimed: “I’m the Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon least wants and for a very simple reason. I believe in the Union with every fibre of my being and I will never allow the Union to be broken up as prime minister.
“Unlike Nicola Sturgeon, I’m on the side of the Scottish people who say they don’t want another divisive referendum. They want their SNP government to focus on health and education and things that matter to ordinary Scottish families, not things that divide them.”
He was speaking after meeting fishing industry leaders in the port of Peterhead.
Mr Hunt added: “Talking to the skipper of the ship I’ve just been round – he wants to get on and grow his business and not be sucked back into all that bitter division.”
‘Incredibly frustrated’ party
Asked about a poll which suggested a majority of party activists wanted Brexit even if it meant Scotland gaining independence, he replied: “I don’t actually believe that polling. Conservative party members I know are absolutely passionate about our precious Union.
“What they are is incredibly frustrated that we have haven’t delivered Brexit, and I think that polling reflects the fact that people are just angry it’s taken so long.”
Asked if he would choose Brexit or the Union, he said: “The Union, every time.”
Mr Hunt maintained that the UK would be able to get a better deal for the fishing industry outside the Common Fisheries Policy.
And in a swipe at Mr Johnson, he said: “Send the wrong person to Brussels, there will be no negotiations, no deal and if we end up tripping into a general election, no Brexit.
“And that would be a disaster for the fishing industry, because leaving the EU is the biggest opportunity for the fishing industry in 40 years.”The SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown said: “Under any leadership, the Tories’ support is slumping in Scotland.”