NICOLA Sturgeon has dismissed Jeremy Hunt's comments he would reject a request from her for a second independence referendum.

She was responding to his remarks in a Sunday newspaper as Hunt tried to further his bid to become Tory leader and Prime Minister.

The First Minister suggested the Foreign Secretary's opposition to a new plebiscite would backfire and would increase support for independence.

Noting Hunt's view that the First Minister would have to meet three challenges to persuade him to agree an independence referendum if he became Prime Minister she tweeted: "sits back and allows Tory arrogance and incompetence to further strengthen support for independence. The Scottish people will decide Scotland’s future, no-one else."

She then posted the SNP's manifesto position ahead of the 2016 Holyrood election, adding: "Here’s the manifesto my government was elected on in 2016. There’s majority support for this in @ScotParl. Tories standing in the way of the will of the Scottish people never ends well for them. This time will be no different. #indyref."

The 2016 manifesto stated: "We believe the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people - or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014 such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will."

Writing in the Sunday Times, Hunt laid out his conditions on what he said would have to happen before he would agree a second independence vote.

He said the SNP must win an outright majority at Holyrood in 2021, must set out a timescale for introducing a new Scottish currency and must rule out a "wildcat" referendum.

Hunt is currently Boris Johnson’s closest rival to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and PM.