The National:

SCOTTISH Labour leader Richard Leonard has claimed that the people of Scotland do not want a second independence referendum.

So, how true is that claim?

His comments came after Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell indicated that if in government, Jeremy Corbyn's party would not make any attempt to block a Scottish request for indyref2.

This position stands in contrast with Scottish Labour, who oppose a second independence referendum.

Speaking the day after McDonnell made the remark, Leonard said: "I met with John this morning and I made clear to him that a second independence referendum is unwanted by the people of Scotland and it is unnecessary.

“The 2014 referendum was a once-in-a-generation vote. There is no economic case for independence, especially with the SNP’s new position of ditching the pound and new policy of turbo-charged austerity to bear down on the deficit.

“On that John McDonnell and I are in firm agreement – what Scotland needs is radical reforming Labour governments at Holyrood and Westminster.”

The crux of Leonard's claim is that indyref2 is "unwanted by the people of Scotland".

This was not the finding of the Lord Ashcroft poll published on Monday that sparked this most recent wave of debate on Scottish independence.

As well as finding 52% support for a Yes vote once "don't knows" are excluded, it revealed that 47% of Scots believed there should be a referendum on independence at some point in the next two years.

By contrast, only 45% felt there should not be another referendum in that timeframe.

According to this poll – the first taken since Boris Johnson visited Scotland as Prime Minister – the public are in agreement with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on indyref2 timing.

However, Leonard's statement is not accurate when it comes to other recent polling either.

A YouGov poll showing a huge shift towards Scottish independence (49% in favour to 51% against) published in April asked Scots about indyref2 timing. It was the first carried out after the First Minister set out her plans to hold a new vote on the issue.

On the timing of a referendum, 42% of those polled wanted a vote in the next five years, and 48% did not – with 10% saying they were unsure. This only presented that binary option of within five years or not within five years.

A Survation poll published in March this year offered a greater variety of options, and specifically asked for those who "never wanted another independence referendum". That research found that 60% of Scots backed a fresh vote on the country's future, compared to only 32% who never wanted another independence referendum. This contradicts Leonard's claim.

And the picture has changed more fully in recent months. A Panelbase poll published in July  revealed that 51% of Scots want indyref2 to be held either while the UK is negotiating to leave the EU or when it has finished negotiations. Only 48% were opposed to it taking place within the next few years.

At the time, polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the Sunday Times: “It seems that the days when Unionists could claim with confidence that Scots do not want another independence referendum any time soon may have come to an end.”

Indyref2 is not "unwanted by Scots", as Leonard claims – the debate has been over the timing, and recent polls show it is wanted sooner rather than later.