A TORY minister has said holding a new independence referendum would be “up to the Scottish people” – despite the Prime Minister indicating he would block it.

In a new interview with The Sun, Boris Johnson said the Scottish Government asking for a Section 30 order, allowing a referendum to be held, would be “completely inapposite, irrelevant, uncalled for and unnecessary”.

He also appeared to rule out a referendum “anytime in the foreseeable future”. Senior Tories have long insisted the 2014 vote was once-in-a-generation. Asked what a generation means in January, Johnson told Andrew Marr the gap between the 1975 and 2016 EU referendum was “good”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson claims Scottish independence vote is 'uncalled for and irrelevant'

However this morning the UK’s Business Secretary departed from this official UK Government line.

Asked about Johnson’s latest criticisms on Sky News today, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I’ve always thought that the issue of Scottish independence is something for the people in Scotland.

“I do remember, in 2014 I think it was, that they said that the referendum would settle the issue for 25 years, for a generation.

“And I am surprised at how often it’s come back, but it’s up to the Scottish people to decide when and whether they want a referendum.”

The SNP has indicated it plans to hold a new referendum if the party achieves a majority in the May election. If the UK Government refuses to approve a Section 30 order, an advisory vote would be held.

This has been characterised by the Scottish Tories as an “illegal” referendum.

The SNP are on track to secure a majority in May, the latest polls show, however their support and backing for independence appears to have dipped in recent weeks.

The National:

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader said: “Mr Kwarteng is absolutely correct that the people of Scotland – not Boris Johnson – have the right to decide their own future.

“The UK Government seem to be waking up to the reality that their anti-democratic position of denying people in Scotland that right is completely unsustainable."

She added: "The issue at the election in May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic - the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson?"