SCOTS Tory stand-in leader Jackson Carlaw has said there should be no second referendum on Scottish independence until the middle of the century.

Answering questions from journalists after the launch of his party’s manifesto, the MSP said Holyrood should fulfil the commitment given to voters in 2014 that it was a “once in a generation” vote.

Asked how long he thought that generation should be, Carlaw (inset) said: “I’ll tell you what it ain’t, it’s not five years”. Pushed again, he said: “Well I mean it’s variable. We had 40 years between the two European referendums, that seems like a fine definition.”

A four-decade gap between indyrefs would have Scots next voting on the constitution in 2054, when Carlaw is 95-years-old, and Nicola Sturgeon a slightly more spritely 84.

Carlaw also claimed that the SNP’s argument that Brexit was a reasonable trigger for indyref2 was rubbish.

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He said: “You have a referendum, because it is a binary question. A question you’re unable to resolve through the normal political process. And in 2014 we had a once in a generation referendum.

“It actually said in the Scotland’s Future document that it would be once a generation, and it actually also said on page 60 of that document – that the Scottish Government spent lots of money sending to every household – that if the Conservatives were elected in 2015 there was the prospect of a referendum on Europe, and they might then leave the European Union.”

He added: “So I argue that in 2014 when people made that decision to stay within the United Kingdom, they understood what staying in the United Kingdom might in future represent.

“And two million people, the biggest number of people we’ve seen for anything in Scotland’s history, voted to remain in the United Kingdom.”

“In no elections since have the SNP come anywhere close to that, there’s no evidence, as Nicola Sturgeon said, of a sustained level of support for a second independence referendum or for independence itself. We want to put an end to the division of constitutional politics that has bedevilled Scotland for 10 years. No independence referendum, get Brexit sorted and move the country on, and that is what we will do. There is no ifs, no buts, no maybes, it will be no.”

Carlaw claimed any vote would be “brutal”.

“We don’t need that in Scotland, we need to put that behind us, and move on.”

Nicola Sturgeon, who wants to hold the referendum next year, said the decision wasn’t up to Carlaw.

Speaking during a campaign stop in Uddingston, she said: “I think the point Jackson Carlaw and Conservatives miss is this one – and it’s a pretty basic point of principle – it’s not up to Jackson Carlaw what the future of Scotland is.

“It’s not up to me what the future of Scotland is either, it’s up to the people of Scotland and it is not for any politician to set conditions or limits on the ability of any country to exercise its right to democracy.

“It’s up to Scotland to decide if it wants to consider the question of independence again and it is up to Scotland to decide whether or not it wants to become an independent country.”

Sturgeon said it was clear that the Tories “have no respect for Scottish democracy at all, and the opportunity people in Scotland have in this election, for that reason and for many other reasons, is to make sure that the Tories are not in government after this election, that they don’t have that majority they are seeking in order to give them the ability to call the shots.”