SCOTTISH ministers have knocked back a LibDem attempt to see any legal advice on indyref2.

There were questions in Holyrood yesterday following recent reports claiming government lawyers had “recently been charged with developing up-to-date advice on the legitimacy of a new vote on the constitution”.

A report in the Sunday Express said “external experts” had also been consulted by the First Minister and “members of her inner circle”.

Yesterday in the Parliament, Graeme Dey, the Minister for Parliamentary Business refused to confirm or deny that any legal advice had been sought or received.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: PM is scared she would lose indyref2 vote

There’s mounting speculation that the SNP administration are preparing to mount a battle with the UK Government over the right to hold a second vote.

Two years ago a majority of MSPs backed a motion mandating Nicola Sturgeon to ask the Prime Minister for a Section 30 order, the procedure that enables Holyrood to legislate for an independence referendum.

Theresa May, however, refused.

A poor showing at the snap General Election in May 2017 saw the SNP leader put the independence referendum on hold.

But Sturgeon has recently promised to update Holyrood on the timing of a new vote in the “coming weeks”, fuelling rumours she could be set to ask May for a Section 30 order again.

That promise has infuriated the Scottish Tories.

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, wrote to May last week, urging her not to soften her position.

A UK Government source told the Sunday Times: “David’s advice to the PM makes clear that she should tell Nicola Sturgeon robustly that the 2014 referendum result must be respected.

“A clear majority of Scots voted no in 2014 and they meant it.

“We are not going to let Nicola Sturgeon ride roughshod over the wishes of the majority.

“We are not going to let them down.”

Yesterday in the Commons, Tory MP Stephen Kerr asked the Prime Minister to say no “Nicola Sturgeon demands a second independence referendum”.

The National:

Speaking ahead of meeting with May, Sturgeon said the Prime Minister was frightened of a new vote: “Theresa May fears she

would lose an independence referendum and is clearly running scared of the verdict of the Scottish people – who must be sick and tired of being told what the Prime Minister wants.”

In the Scottish Parliament, LibDem MSP Mike Rumbles asked the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, if another referendum could be held without the need for a Section 30 order to be granted.

The Lord Advocate, however, refused to respond to Rumbles, with the question instead answered by Dey.

Dey told the LibDem: “By long-standing convention, the content of any legal advice received by the Government is of course, confidential.”

Rumbles responded: “Well what a poor response that was. In the spirit of openness and transparency, which this Parliament prides itself on, does the minister not agree with me, just as Scottish ministers demanded the UK Government publish its legal advice on Brexit, and it was published, the Lord Advocate’s advice on an independence referendum should indeed be published by Scottish ministers?

“It would have been helpful if perhaps the Lord Advocate had given us the benefit of his advice.”

Dey replied: “I would refer the member to my previous answer but in so doing, point out that the convention I refer to is so long-standing, it goes I believe all the way back to when the LibDems were part of the then-coalition executive – quite some time ago of course, which is why perhaps the existence of the convention has left Mr Rumbles’ memory.”

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins then asked if Government believed Holyrood “could lawfully pass legislation authorising an independence referendum without a Section 30 order or not”.

Dey referred Tomkins to his

earlier “answer”.