DOUGLAS Ross' Scottish Tories would refuse to fight an independence referendum run by Holyrood — even if a court said it was legal.

The Scottish Government aims to hold a second constitutional vote next year.

Debate continues amongst Yes supporters and figureheads about the best indyref2 strategy in the face of refusal by Boris Johnson.

He's said he won't make another Section 30 order and give the Scottish Parliament the legal authority to hold a vote, stating that "the people of Scotland voted decisively in 2014".

Supporters of a "plan B" say Scotland must now prepare an alternative strategy, with Joanna Cherry MP suggesting that Scottish ministers could bring forwards a "carefully crafted bill" on a referendum without Downing Street's consent.

She said that would likely become a matter for the UK Supreme Court, paving the way for a "lawful referendum" if it "found the bill to be within competence".

Cherry said that vote "would be hard for unionists to boycott".

But now the Scottish Conservatives have said that's exactly what they would do.

And other unionist parties dodged the question altogether.

When asked by the Daily Record if it would take part in a consultative, non-binding referendum organised by Holyrood and ruled legal by a court, a Tory spokesman said: "No. The last thing that Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum.

"The top priorities of the Scottish Conservatives and people across Scotland are fighting the pandemic, saving jobs and rebuilding Scotland stronger after this crisis. The SNP’s push to divide the country all over again as early as next year is reckless."

When asked the same question, Scottish Labour did not respond.

And LibDem leader Willie Rennie skipped a yes-or-no answer, saying: "Recovery from the pandemic needs a needle-sharp focus. It beggars belief that some people are spending their time cooking up elaborate ways to distract from that task."

Commenting, SNP MSP Alex Neil said the Tories were showing "contempt for democracy" and are "unfit for office".

He went on: "This is an absolutely stupid position for the Tories to get themselves into.

"They would be boycotting the people’s referendum and they will lose votes over this. Their credibility going into the Holyrood election has been destroyed."

Senior EU sources told the Scottish Centre on European Relations that Brussels would welcome an independent Scotland, as long as the accession bid followed a "legally and constitutionally sound" referendum carried out in agreement between London and Edinburgh.

Responding to the development, Aberdeen University politics lecturer Dr Malcolm Harvey suggested the Tory boycott was predictable, would be taken up by the unionist base and would damage both the process and result of such a ballot.

He stated: "Turnout would be about 50% and the thing would be even less legitimate than holding an un-sanctioned referendum in the first place. It's a mad idea."