NICOLA Sturgeon has dismissed an intervention by Jeremy Hunt that if he becomes prime minister he would reject a request for a second independence referendum unless three conditions are met.

The Foreign Secretary listed his requirements in a newspaper article yesterday saying the SNP must: achieve an absolute majority at Holyrood in 2021, give a timescale for the introduction of a new currency and rule out a “wildcat” referendum.

The First Minister suggested Hunt’s position would backfire and increase support for independence.

Noting his comments, 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 also posted the SNP’s manifesto position ahead of the 2016 Holyrood election and added: “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 SNP 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 agreed with the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who said last week the SNP must win an outright majority in Holyrood in 2021 on a manifesto commitment to hold indyref 2 before they could negotiate with the UK Government to request the devolution of powers to Holyrood to hold the vote.

“As prime minister, I would support the people of Scotland in putting three stringent challenges to the SNP before they hold another divisive referendum,” he wrote. “The first was set out by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson last week: the SNP need to win an outright majority in the 2021 Scottish parliament election on a manifesto commitment to hold indyref2.

“The second challenge would ask the SNP to clarify their currency position. Scotland is too important for the UK economy and the UK too important for Scotland’s economy, to allow the SNP to break our nation apart without this. People’s mortgages and pensions are at stake. Sturgeon must provide a clear timeline on her proposals to ditch the pound.”

He added: “Finally, the SNP should rule out any suggestion of a wildcat referendum. People need to know that they can trust the political process. Pushing for an illegitimate referendum would simply alienate people when we should be focusing on unity over division.”

Hunt is frontrunner Boris Johnson’s closest rival to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and PM. While the SNP do not have an overall majority in Holyrood, along with the Scottish Greens the majority of MSPs support independence. But last week Davidson appeared to insist this is not enough to hold a vote.

She told the BBC: “If she [Sturgeon] puts it in a manifesto that she’s going to hold another referendum and she wins a majority outright, then she can negotiate with the UK Government in the same way as happened last time. But she doesn’t get to just, in the middle of a Parliament where she’s lost her majority, get to stick her hand up and say I’m going to re-run this referendum again and again until I get the result I want.”

Davidson’s comments contradicted remarks made in 2011, when she said if the “Greens and the SNP, and the SSP or any of the other parties who have expressed an interest in independence” can “make a coalition, can make a majority, can get the votes in the Parliament, then they’ll vote through a referendum”.

In April the FM unveiled plans for a new vote on independence before May 2021. Legislation has been introduced to Holyrood setting out the rules for the vote, while Sturgeon has said she will later request the necessary transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood to hold the vote.