THE Scottish Government has insisted it can still hold indyref2 later this year, despite Boris Johnson refusing Nicola Sturgeon’s request for a Section 30 order.

After last month’s election, in which the SNP won 47 of Scotland’s 59 seats, the First Minister published a document outlining “Scotland’s right to choose”, making the case for the powers to hold a legally watertight referendum to be devolved to Holyrood permanently.

In his response to Sturgeon, delivered yesterday, the Prime Minister said he had: “Carefully considered and noted the arguments set out for a transfer of power from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament to allow for further independence referendums.”

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

But, he added, given that Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond had made a “personal promise that the 2014 independence referendum was a “once-in-a-generation vote” he could not agree to her request.

READ MORE: FACT CHECK: Claim SNP vowed indyref was 'once in a lifetime' opportunity

Johnson said the UK Government would “continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made them. For that reason I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums”.

He claimed another vote on the constitution would “continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK”.

The Prime Minister urged the SNP leader to work with him to “bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country”.

Johnson’s response is not surprising. Over the weekend, his Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, had said the vote shouldn’t happen in the lifetime of the First Minister.

Sturgeon replied to Johnson by saying the Tories were “terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future”.

“They know that given the choice the overwhelming likelihood is that people will choose the positive option of independence,” she said.

“The Tories – and their allies in the leaderships of Labour and the LibDems – lack any positive case for the Union so all they can do is try to block democracy.

“It shows utter contempt for the votes, views and interests of the people of Scotland and it is a strategy that is doomed to failure.”

The First Minister added: “It is not politically sustainable for any Westminster government to stand in the way of the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future and to seek to block the clear democratic mandate for an independence referendum.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

“The problem for the UK Government is that the longer it tries to block a referendum, the more it demonstrates that the Westminster union is not a partnership of equals and the more support for independence will grow.”

READ MORE: First Minister responds to Boris Johnson's Section 30 rejection

The First Minister said the Scottish Government would “set out our response and next steps before the end of this month” and would, once again, ask MSPs “to back Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.

In an interview with ITV Border, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Minister Michael Russell said a referendum this year would be “the right thing to do”.

He added: “I intend to deliver it because it’s the right thing to do and it’s the right thing to do because it ends the uncertainty. It’s really important the uncertainty comes to an end.

“Boris Johnson is continuing the uncertainty and continuing the decline of the UK. He is obsessed with delivering Brexit, which will damage Scotland, damage everybody who’s watching this, unfortunately. We intend to give the people of Scotland the opportunity to choose.”

Earlier, SNP MP Joanna Cherry called on her party to consider other kinds of action to force indyref2. She said the SNP should treat seriously Kenny MacAskill’s plans for a constitutional convention.

Interim Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said Johnson’s letter was a “clear call to the Scottish Government to invest its energies in the domestic agenda and respect the result of the 2014 vote”.

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens labelled Johnson’s rejection “undemocratic”. He said: “The people of Scotland are sovereign, they alone have the right to decide their future.”