The National:

DAVID Mundell isn't exactly known for sticking to his principles but his latest remark takes it to the next level.

The Tory MP 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.”

READ MORE: David Mundell says no indyref2 even if pro-Yes parties win big

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.”

Mundell, who represents Dumfries and Galloway, 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.”

But those comments contradict what he has said in the past.

In August last year he said Scotland should not be denied indyref2 if a pro-independence majority is returned at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election on a manifesto of holding a further ballot.

He predicted the next Scottish Parliament election would become an effective referendum on having a further vote on Scottish independence, saying: "If the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is fought explicitly on the issue of another referendum and there is a majority of nationalist parties then you do have to listen to that.”

He argued the 2016 Holyrood election was not fought on that basis as the independence referendum was a “subset” in the manifesto.

He said: “If the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is fought on an explicit independence referendum basis then it is harder to push back against the idea that there isn’t a mandate for it.”

READ MORE: David Mundell: Scotland should not be denied indyref2 after 2021

In 2016 Mundell said Westminster will not stop Holyrood holding a second independence referendum, adding: "If the people of Scotland ultimately determine that they want to have another referendum there will be one.

“Could there be another referendum? The answer to that question is yes. Should there be another referendum? I believe the answer to that question is no."

Mundell was a fierce critic of Boris Johnson at first and was a key part of Scottish Tory efforts to keep him out of Downing Street

But he was branded “as spineless as a jellyfish” when he changed his tune over the prospect of losing the £67,505 ministerial top up to his £79,468 parliamentary salary.