BORIS Johnson will reject any request by the newly-elected Scottish Government to hold a second referendum in the new parliamentary term, Douglas Ross has said.

The Scottish Conservative leader made the comments in a briefing with political journalists this afternoon after the SNP won the election and a record fourth term in government.

Together with the Scottish Greens, there will 72 pro-Yes MSPs in the new Scottish Parliament - giving it the largest independence majority since devolution.

But the Tories argue that because the SNP as a single party did not win an overall majority (it fell one MSP short with 64) it does not have a mandate for a new vote.

In her victory speech yesterday the First Minister pointed to the parliamentary majority for a second independence referendum, underlining that people in Scotland had voted for it and declared it "the will of the country".

Two requests by Nicola Sturgeon for a Section 30 order, which transfers powers to Holyrood to hold a referendum, were refused by the UK Government in the last parliament- one by Theresa May and one by Boris Johnson. Ross said Johnson would also refuse a third.

"He [the PM] has been very clear that he does not support another independence referendum, but we should be focused on the economy, and therefore I would expect that Section 30 order [request], and to get the same response as previous attempts from Nicola Sturgeon to request a Section 30 order," he told reporters.

He also was questioned about how the UK Government would respond to a Holyrood bill to hold a new referendum.

The First Minister has said if the UK Government denies Holyrood the power to hold an agreed referendum, she would pass legislation at Holyrood without the UK Government’s consent, and effectively dare Mr Johnson’s Government to challenge it at the UK Supreme Court.

Conservative Cabinet minister Michael Gove said earlier today that it would not make a legal challenge to the Scottish Government over the legislation.

Ross said he believed the Scottish Government’s own legal advisers would stop an authorised Referendum Bill ever getting to Holyrood as it would be beyond its powers.

He said the law officers, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General, could not consent to legislation that was in his view outwith the “competence” of the Scottish Parliament.

He accused the First Minister of “jumping many steps ahead to potentially distract from issues within her own party”.

Sturgeon has said that she wants indyref2 by 2024, Covid permitting, and independence in 2026.

In the wake of the SNP’s landslide Holyroood election win last week, and with a majority of pro-independence SNP and Greens MSPs elected, she is expected to seek a transfer of referendum powers to Holyrood under Section 30 of the 1998 Scotland Act.

The 1998 Scotland Act, which underpins, states in Schedule 5 that the Union between Scotland and England is a matter reserved solely to Westminster.

Ross said that meant the Lord Advocate could not endorse a standalone Holyrood Referendum Bill as it would be beyond the parliament’s legislative competence.

Asked if he thought the Lord Advocate would be the obstacle to getting such a Bill off the ground, he said: “Clearly there are procedures in place both within the Scottish Government that should only see them bringing forward legislation that is within the competency of the Scottish Parliament.

“If the Lord Advocate does not believe something is within the competence of the Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament, he is there in his dual role as both the most senior legal adviser to the First Minister and the Scottish Government, and of course a member of the Scottish Government cabinet.

“So his role, or whoever is in that position if there is any change, is absolutely crucial and of course, they have a Scotland Act to base their decisions on in terms of competency of what the Scottish Government can and cannot do.”

He went on: “Nicola Sturgeon is framing this as a battle she believes she can force the UK Government into, to take the Scottish Government to court.

“But let's look at what the Scotland Act and the Scottish Parliament and Government have within their own competencies.

"I think currently Nicola Sturgeon is jumping many steps ahead to potentially distract from issues within her own party and disappointment for many members of the SNP that she has again failed to secure the majority.”

"It is not within the competency of the Scottish Parliament to hold another independence referendum.

“In 2014, we had the gold standard, which was one which had secured a Section 30 Order.

“I would expect the order of the Office of Lord Advocate to uphold the competency of what the Scottish government can and cannot do.”