KEIR Starmer does not agree with Boris Johnson’s claim that there shouldn’t be another Scottish independence referendum until 2055.

The Labour leader acknowledged the status quo "isn’t working" for Scots but refused to endorse a second plebiscite.

Asked about the issue last week, the Prime Minister said people in the UK had been given the chance to vote twice on EU membership in 1975 and 2016 and the period between them was "right".

"We had a referendum in 1975 and we had another in 2016 and that seems to be the right sort of gap. So how about that,” he told Andrew Marr.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson rules out indyref2 until 2055 saying referendums are 'not jolly'

The BBC presenter put those comments to Starmer this morning.

The UK Labour chief replied: "I heard the Prime Minister say that and I don't agree with him on that."

Yet Starmer, who has called for a Constitutional Case to “renew the case for devolution”, argued against holding indyref2.

"I don't think there should be another referendum,” he said. “I don't think another divisive referendum is the right way forward. But I do accept the status quo isn't working.

"But I don't accept the argument that if the status quo isn't working, then the next thing you do is go to a referendum. I think there are other things you can do, other arguments that can be made in support of a United Kingdom.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer slapped down by SNP over Scottish independence claims

"We're in the middle of a pandemic, probably the darkest moment of the pandemic. In Scotland, as much as the rest of the UK, the idea that the only discussion we're having about Scotland is whether there should be a referendum when the health service is on its knees, the economy is really under strain – lots of people in Scotland and families are struggling for their jobs and for the future – and every time we talk about Scotland the only question is should there be another referendum."

The Labour leader also suggested that it was inappropriate to talk about indyref2 while “we’re talking about whether the May elections should go ahead”.

READ MORE: Experts insist vital Scottish Parliament election MUST go ahead

Earlier, Deputy first minister John Swinney insisted a second referendum is a top priority for the Scottish Government and people. 

He told Politics Scotland: “An independence referendum is an essential priority for the people of Scotland because it gives us the opportunity to choose how we decide to rebuild as a country from Covid.

“It would give us an opportunity to decide on our constitutional future and to determine the nature of our economy and the way in which we support out citizens.”

The National: Deputy first minister John SwinneyDeputy first minister John Swinney

During his interview with Andrew Marr, Starmer argued against re-joining the EU and reinstating freedom of movement.

"I don’t think there is a case for re-joining the EU … that is not realistic," he said.

Asked about freedom of movement, he replied: “I don’t think there’s an argument for reopening those aspects of the treaty.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart responded to Starmer’s Brexit comments on Twitter.

He wrote: “Starmer wouldn’t even reintroduce freedom of movement. Unbelievable. Labour are now hard Brexiteers. They voted for this treaty, they’ve caved in over Brexit. They now own this disaster with the Tories.”

Party colleague John Nicolson added: “Keir Starmer telling #Marr he’s changed his mind on free movement. So sad to see the extent to which #Brexit has pushed the Labour Party to the right. Keir was once – admirably – an outspoken champion of free movement.”