INTERIM Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw has insisted that the SNP's emphatic win at the General Election is not a mandate for indyref2.

In a press conference this morning the MSP, who last week declared that the Union was on the ballot paper, said the Union was very much not on the ballot paper.

He said: “In the last hour I have already heard Nicola Sturgeon's claim that last night's result is a mandate for the second referendum on independence. Of course, up until 10pm last night, that was not the story told by the SNP. It was, they said, about stopping Brexit and blocking Boris.

“Nonetheless, the SNP is reverting to form and decided to take the vote it won yesterday as a free pass for a referendum next year.

“I'm clear, her plan would take us back to more division and chaos. Imagine, just as the rest of UK is now set to move on and put constitutional division and referendum behind it, Scotland would remain stuck. The one part of this country still trapped in the divisive arguments of the past, unable to focus on the challenges of the future.”

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Carlaw moved to reassure the 700,000 people who backed the Tories that party would "stop that referendum".

"We will not let you down," he promised. “The 2014 referendum was a once in a generation event. It should be respected as such. The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party will be the party to do so.”

The Scottish Tory vote fell by 3.5% to 25.1%, with the party winning six seats, down from the 13 they won in 2017.

Carlaw’s speech came just minutes after Nicola Sturgeon made clear she would be asking the UK Government to transfer the legal powers to hold a second referendum to the Scottish Parliament through what is known as a Section 30 order.

Carlaw also made clear he was interested in taking on the top job permanently. Asked if he would be throwing his hat into the ring, Carlaw replied: "I've enjoyed this campaign, I believe that I have helped bring clarity and focus to it.

“I believe there's more that I can offer the Scottish Conservatives going forward but that's not the immediate discussion that we need to have.”