TORY leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has refused to rule out granting Holyrood the powers to hold indyref2 if she became prime minister.

At a lunch event with journalists, Leadsom was asked whether, as prime minister, she would accept a Scottish request for Section 30 powers to hold a second referendum.

The Tory MP answered: "All of these things would be up for negotiation. I do believe in sovereignty.

"I don’t think most people in Scotland would want that to happen but I would never say never."

Asked under what circumstances she would back the vote, Leadsom added: “I do not think there should be another independence referendum in Scotland.

“On the other hand I am a big believer in devolution and so I am not going to stand here and utterly rule it out because I think that is disrespectful, but I would very strongly fight against a second referendum.”

A spokesperson for Leadsom told The National last week that she would "not be seeking to hold a second independence referendum".

The UK Government's current position is that it would refuse any request for the powers to hold a new vote.

It comes after leadership rival Sajid Javid was widely criticised for saying he would reject any attempt by the Scottish Government seeking powers to hold a referendum.

READ MORE: Sajid Javid mocked for saying he wouldn't 'allow' referendum

Social media users mocked Javid with the "PermissionFromSajid" hashtag.