DOWNING Street has once again renewed its opposition to a second independence referendum after a bombshell poll found 58% of Scots would now vote Yes.

The survey of 1045 people by Ipsos MORI is the latest in a line of polls showing a surge in support for independence over the past six months.

It also found that 64% of Scots back a new vote within the next Holyrood term if the SNP win a majority at next May's Scottish Parliament election.

Asked about the findings at the lobby briefing today, a Number Ten spokesperson said: "The issue of independence was settled when the Scottish people voted decisively to remain part of a strong United Kingdom, it was a once in a generation vote and it must be respected ... the UK Govt will continue to uphold that decision."

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Earlier the Scottish Tories - which the poll puts at winning just 19% of the vote in May - issued a statement opposing a new referendum.

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “In the middle of a pandemic, the last thing that Scotland needs right now is another independence referendum.

“Another divisive referendum would only take the focus away from rebuilding Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and restoring our schools and hospitals. 

“Only Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stop the SNP and move Scotland on from the divisions of the past.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the new figures show independence is now the "settled will" of the Scottish people, adding a pro-independence majority in next year's Holyrood election should lead to another vote on leaving the UK.

He said: "Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more and more people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.

"And if there is a clear majority for pro-independence, pro-referendum parties in next year's election - as this poll shows there would be by some considerable margin - then no Tory or any UK Government has the right to stand in the way.

"Quite simply, in those circumstances, the Tories would lack any moral or democratic authority whatsoever to try to block the will of the people and it would not stand."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was found to be the most trusted among the UK's political leaders, with a net positive of 49% among those asked - compared to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's net negative of 58%.

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A mapping of voting intentions for next year's Holyrood election continues to put the SNP well in front, with 58% in the constituency vote and 48% in the list vote of all those who declared a voting intention.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, whose party polled at 9% in the list vote, said: "It's clear that the Scottish Greens' constructive approach to opposition is appreciated by the public.

"From Scotland's fairer tax system, to the reversal of unfair exam grades and free bus travel for young people from next year, we've worked constructively to make Scotland a fairer country.

"This poll also shows support for independence at its highest ever point.
"It's clearer than ever that the UK simply isn't working for Scotland and that we must take our future into our own hands to build a better Scotland."