NICOLA Sturgeon has said her government will consider whether to accelerate its plans for a second independence referendum after Boris Johnson won the Conservative leadership.

The First Minister said she had “profound concerns” about Johnson entering No 10, and added it was up to him “to prove people wrong”.

She was speaking after the former London mayor defeated foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership contest by nearly two to one.

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The Scottish Government put forward legislation in May that could pave the way for a fresh vote on Scottish independence, with plans to make it law by the end of the year.

Sturgeon later said she wanted the new referendum to take place “towards the latter half of next year”.

Asked about the impact of Johnson’s victory on the legislative proposals, the First Minister told STV yesterday: “We will consider whether the timetable we’ve set out to have it on the statute book by the end of this year is still the right one or whether we should accelerate that. Then, of course, we will move forwards on that basis.”

She added: “But my message to Boris Johnson, and to any politician who takes the undemocratic stance of thinking they can block the will of the Scottish people, is simple.

“You can oppose independence, that is absolutely legitimate, but what is not legitimate is to try to stand in the way of the people of Scotland having the right to choose.

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“If people in Scotland want independence – as it seems increasing numbers do – then no Westminster politician will be able to stand in the way of that.”

After the former foreign secretary was elected as Theresa May’s successor by Tory party members, the First Minister said she had “profound concerns about the prospect of his premiership”.

And she insisted the incoming Prime Minister’s plans to complete Brexit “do or die” by October 31 were “deeply irresponsible”.

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the pro-independence Scottish Green Party, also wants a new independence referendum next year.

Responding to Johnson winning the Tory race, he insisted: “Scotland needs a route out of Boris’ Brexit Britain, and while we already have a firm mandate to hold a referendum, Johnson’s elevation to the office of Prime Minister on the back of bluff and bluster is hugely concerning and reinforces the need to hold this vote urgently.”

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And there was an independence forecast from one prominent Labour figure.

Responding to Johnson’s victory in the Tory leadership contest, former Scottish Labour chair Jamie Glackin tweeted: “I think we took a giant stride towards Scottish Independence today. Like it or loathe it. It’s reality.”

Scottish Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell (below) said “the best reaction to the election of Boris Johnson is to join @theSNP”.

The National:

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader – who backed Johnson’s opponent, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in the contest – insisted the future of the Union would not be determined by the political personalities of the day.

She told BBC Scotland: “I find it interesting that Nicola Sturgeon is saying that this is an indyref2 trigger, in the same way as she said her husband burning the toast could be.

“Brexit was supposed to be the one thing that pushed Scotland over the line, then it was Theresa May replacing David Cameron.

“Actually I think Scots are a bit cannier about this, people understand that a 300-year-old union isn’t decided by the personalities of the day, whether that is Alex Salmond, who was a Marmite politician, whether that is Boris Johnson, who arguably some people could say the same.”

Davidson, who has ruled herself out of ever serving as PM, added: “I think people understand that the constitutional future of our country is a much more long term decision. There is no majority for a second indyref in Scotland.

The National:

“I hope Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t try to push that button again, although she has tried several times in the last five years, because I think we’ve got serious problems in Scotland to sort out.”

And Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has branded the new Prime Minister and the Tory political party as a “real and present danger to Scotland’s place in the UK”.

He said that Johnson “represents a dangerous form of English nationalism” and he had “some time ago abandoned the unionist tradition of the Conservative and Unionist party”.

Meanwhile the new Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson claimed Johnson “isn’t fit to be the Prime Minister of our country”.

She said: “Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson.”