DAVID Mundell has said there will be no indyref2, even if the SNP win a majority at next year’s election

In an interview to mark Douglas Ross’s coronation as Scottish Tory leader, the Dumfries and Galloway MP said he thought the recent polls putting independence ahead was down to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told Times Radio: “There’s been a series of polls that have put independence ahead, but they have been in this period of turmoil that we’re going through in relation to coronavirus, and its impact.”

The former minister said he didn’t necessarily believe that’s where people’s opinion would be in six months or a year’s time.

“However, that doesn’t mean I’m complacent about it,” he added. “There is a clear trend. Those people who believe that Scotland’s place is better served within the United Kingdom, have got to make that case.”

READ MORE: Here's every time David Mundell changed his mind on indyref2

Mundell said the SNP had made “the case for independence every single day” while the other side were “not as good at making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.”

He added: “We perhaps thought, as had been signed up for ahead of the referendum, it was going to be a once in a generation event and the result would be respected and we would move on but that’s not what happened.

“Essentially the Yes campaign continued, and we didn’t continue at the same level of intensity or effectiveness at making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.”

The former Secretary of State for Scotland, avoided a question on whether the Prime Minister would be a liability for Ross at the next election. He also avoided saying whether he thought the Prime Minister would be an asset at the next election.

“It is not about Boris Johnson, it is about the proposition that Douglas is going to put forward for the Scottish Parliament elections next year.

“Boris Johnson is not standing in the Scottish Parliament elections. It’s about what the Scottish Conservatives are going to offer the people of Scotland in that election.

“Douglas has been very clear that he wants to move on from the narrow constitutional debate to what the Scottish Parliament can actually do about issues about health, education, transport economy and jobs post Covid.”

Asked about why the party had now backed its third leader in less than a year, Mundell said Holyrood’s return next week “would really be the start of a sort of countdown to next year Scottish Parliament elections”.

He added: “I think there was just a mood amongst Scottish Conservatives, ‘let’s just get on with this, let’s get someone who’s well qualified in place, and then let’s take the fight SNP’.”

Mundell said that even if pro-independence parties won a majority, it should not automatically lead to a second independence referendum. He told the show: “My view is that whatever the results of next year Scottish Election parliament that would not automatically lead to another referendum”.

Asked if he would bet on Douglas Ross becoming,the next First Minister, Mundell said: “On the basis of the current polls, that’s not where the easy bet would lie, but for somebody who’s got that spare fiver I think Douglas is worth a bet.”

Meanwhile, Ross is due to meet with Rishi Sunk today, as the Chancellor heads north of the border.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the new Scottish Tory leader said there needed to be “cooperation not confrontation”.

“Our recovery from the pandemic is too important to allow political differences to get in the way”.