NICOLA Sturgeon has called for “a new spirit of consensus” among Scotland’s political parties to push for further devolution to “equip our Parliament better for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead”.

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the referendum in which Scots overwhelmingly backed the transfer of some powers from Westminster, the First Minister also warned that the Tory Brexit repeal bill “threatens the very principle on which our parliament is founded”.

The Scottish Government is due to set out today the changes it says it needs to see in the UK Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill before it can ask MSPs to consent to the legislation – although even if MSPs do not consent, the UK Government can overrule Holyrood.

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This, Sturgeon said, would “erode the settlement the people of Scotland voted for”.

The Tories dismissed the First Minister’s claim, accusing the First Minister of being “up to her usual tricks” and “scaremongering”.

Speaking to a small audience in Edinburgh to mark two decades since more than 1.7 million Scots – about 74 per cent of those who turned out – voted in favour of the creation of a Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon drew parallels with that campaign, and the 2014 independence referendum.

She said her support for independence and the “sound and fury” of Scottish politics should not stop the other political parties from working with her.

“Everyone knows that I believe that becoming an independent country would be the best future for Scotland,” Sturgeon said. “And also that, as I said in June, at the end of the Brexit process, I believe that the people of Scotland should have a choice about our future direction as a country.

“Indeed, at its heart, independence is the natural extension of the principle that decisions should be taken in Scotland, and that doing so improves the lives of the people who live here.

“Others, of course, disagree. But the key point is this: 20 years ago that disagreement about the final destination did not stop us from working together to make progress where we could. And it shouldn’t today.”

The Scottish Government would, Sturgeon added, bring forward evidence-based papers, covering employment, social security, immigration and trade that would make “the case for extending the powers of our parliament”.

They will not be intended as the final word, Sturgeon said, but to stimulate debate and seek consensus.

On immigration, the First Minister accused the Tories of celebrating when the number of people coming to Britain drops.

Their target to cut immigration was “based on ideology rather than any rational consideration” and if achieved would have a “devastating” impact on Scotland’s economy.

“It would place a bigger burden on today’s young people,” Sturgeon argued. “It raises again the likelihood of a falling working population.

“And that in turn would mean skills shortages, fewer jobs and fewer taxpayers to pay for a growing demand for public services.”

On social security, Sturgeon said the Scottish Parliament was being forced to “act as a sticking plaster to mitigate bad decisions taken at Westminster”.

She argued that the people who campaigned and voted 20 years ago would surely want their parliament to “have the power to take better decisions in the interests of the people of people of Scotland”.

Sturgeon added: “Our job today is to protect what we won in 1997 – and then make sure we continue to build upon it, both in tribute to those whose efforts over generations delivered our own Scottish Parliament, and also in the best interests of all those we serve today and in the future.”

Scottish Tory MP Paul Masterson accused the First Minister of searching for a “grievance”.

“This is shameless scaremongering from Nicola Sturgeon, who seems to be up to her old constitutional tricks again,” he said.

“People in Scotland are sick to death of the First Minister using Brexit to manufacture more grievance. The UK Government has made it perfectly clear, on numerous occasions, that the powers of the Scottish Parliament will not be diminished through this process. In fact, the opposite will be the case.”

Scottish Labour interim leader Alex Rowley said: “Scottish Labour adopted federalism as our party policy in February, and will continue to look at the devolution of powers around employment, immigration and international trade.”