SCOTTISH voters back a legal battle with Boris Johnson over indyref2 if he continues to refuse a Section 30 order, a new poll has revealed.

More than half believe the Scottish Parliament should legislate to hold a referendum if Westminster does not agree to it – and then allow the courts to decide if it can take place.

The finding is the latest from the Panelbase poll conducted for the ScotGoesPop! blog, supported by The National.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “This new poll demolishes the Tories’ tired claim that there is no demand for an independence referendum – the reality is that people want one and they want it to be made in Scotland, not in Westminster.

READ MORE: Why calling indyref2 without Section 30 may not be a mistake

The National: Keith Brown said the poll demolished Tory argumentsKeith Brown said the poll demolished Tory arguments

“Support for independence is growing every day, with the latest polling showing a majority for Yes – and the longer the Tories try to block a referendum the higher support for independence will rise.”

While the SNP leadership has been careful to stress any referendum must be seen as legitimate, pressure has been mounting to find another way forward if Johnson continues to rebuff demands for another vote.

The idea of a legal route to a second independence referendum has been raised by a number of senior SNP politicians.

Earlier this month First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refused to rule out court action as she set out her preferred next steps in the campaign for independence.

However she said she would continue to push for a section 30 order and warned there would be “no guarantees” if the legal position of whether the Scottish Parliament could hold its own vote was tested.

READ MORE: SNP aiming to build indyref2 consensus as Unison backs poll

But SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, who led the successful case against proroguing the UK Parliament, said a way forward against the “current impasse” could be for Holyrood to pass a bill to hold an advisory referendum.

Cherry told the Sunday National she welcomed the findings of the poll.

She said: “Having Holyrood pass a bill to hold a referendum could be part of a multi-faceted strategy to move us away from the current impasse and stop the constant and unproductive talk about Section 30 orders and seeking ‘permission’ to act from Westminster.

“The balance of legal opinion is that we might well win any legal challenge and I don’t believe that to lose any court challenge mounted in response would set us back any further than where we are just now.

“Boris Johnson should be in notice that we have options and we are not afraid to push forward.”

The National:

Responding to the poll’s findings SNP MSP Alex Neil (above), who has called for Holyrood to hold its own consultative vote if such a move is declared legal, said: “If Boris Johnson continues to deny the right of the Scottish people to decide their own future, clearly we need to look at other options.

“But I agree with the First Minister, we have got to give democracy every chance, so if we get to 2021 and the SNP win an overall majority on the back of a mandate for indyref2, then democratically and morally Johnson cannot say no.

“If he continues to say no, and defy the wishes of the Scottish people, we cannot take no for answer and we have got to look at every possible legal way to force the issue.

“But let’s try and force him into accepting the wishes of the people first if we win that mandate next year.”

The poll question asked: “There are differing legal opinions on whether the Scottish Parliament currently has the power to hold a consultative referendum on independence without Westminster’s permission.

“If the UK government continues to refuse to give permission, do you think the Scottish Parliament should legislate to hold a referendum and then allow the courts to decide whether it can take place?”

READ MORE: Robert Peston: Poll with Yes at 52% is 'serious setback' for PM

Of those who expressed an opinion, 56% agreed with the statement, with 44% saying no.

When ‘don’t knows’ were included, 50% said yes and 39% said no.

Earlier this month, the Panelbase poll, which was carried out between January 28 and 31, also revealed a majority of voters would now back independence, with Yes on 52%.

Meanwhile a former head of the American consulate in Edinburgh has criticised the UK Government over its stance on indyref2.

READ MORE: Obama's former US consul in Scotland attacks Tories' indyref2 stance

Dana Linnet, who was principle officer for the US consulate from 2009-12 during Barack Obama’s presidency, wrote: “The UK Government can’t say in 2014 that Scottish independence would be bad because Scotland would not be an EU member anymore with all those huge economic benefits and then say in 2018 that Scotland can’t be independent post-Brexit with no EU economic benefits.

“Makes no sense. None of their words were/are intellectually honest or proven by sound economic data. I hope the EU does leave the light on for you. As I’ve said many times I have no dog in your fight but I can see ‘what’s what’.”