THERE is “terror in the eyes of Jackson Carlaw and his colleagues” over rising support for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday.

The First Minister clashed with the interim Scottish Tory leader over the SNP currency plans agreed at their party conference last weekend.With Ruth Davidson due to return from maternity leave next week, it was Carlaw’s final stint at First Minister’s Questions.

READ MORE: FMQs Sketch: A Scottish independence gift from Jackson Carlaw

He challenged Sturgeon to name a single business group or trade union that had come out in favour of the SNP’s new policy.

On Saturday, delegates at the party conference endorsed plans for an independent Scotland to have its own currency “as soon as practicable” once the six tests set out in the Sustainable Growth Commission had been met.

But Richard Marsh, who worked on the Sustainable Growth Commission, reportedly claimed setting up a new currency could lead to a slump in property prices and leave 45,000 Scots owing more on their mortgages than homes are worth – similar to the financial crash of 2008.

Carlaw said Marsh clearly thought the SNP plan was “a turkey”.

He went on: “Nicola Sturgeon’s plan from day one of independence could lead to an estimated 45,000 Scottish homes being pushed into negative equity, which would be similar to what was seen during the 2008 financial crisis.

The National: Speaking at First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said she could 'see the terror in Tory eyes' as support for independence surged. Photograph: Gordon TerrisSpeaking at First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said she could 'see the terror in Tory eyes' as support for independence surged. Photograph: Gordon Terris

“I know that Scottish National Party members do not like to hear it, but – unfortunately for them – that is not just our view; it was also the verdict this week of Richard Marsh, who is one of the First Minister’s economic experts. Has he – he is an adviser to her Growth Commission – just got it all wrong?”

Sturgeon said the “essence of independence” is that Holyrood would “take decisions” that are right for Scotland, “so that we would not have to have imposed on us by Westminster decisions that damage our interests”.

She added: “That is why we see support for independence rising and why we see the terror in the eyes of Jackson Carlaw and his colleagues as they see that the writing is well and truly on the wall.

READ MORE: Voters 'are changing their minds about independence on an almost daily basis'

The real threat to Scotland right now is the damage to our economy that is coming from Brexit, which is described as a disaster by so many businesses, individuals and academics the length and breadth of the country.

“We see support for independence increasing, support for this Government increasing and support for the Scottish Conservatives starting to fall through the floor because people in Scotland know that the time is coming when we will need to get rid of Tory governments once and for all, and take control of our future into our own hands.”

Sturgeon congratulated Carlaw on his “period of acting leadership of the Conservative Party”.

She said: “Polls at the weekend suggested that the Tories have, under his stewardship, gone from second place to third place and, in one poll, to fourth place in Scottish politics.

“Those of us in the SNP seats thoroughly endorse Jackson Carlaw’s record in office.”