ALEX Cole-Hamilton, the new leader of the Scottish LibDems, has claimed that people did not vote for the SNP to have their say on independence but because they did not want to see a change of government “in the middle of a national crisis”.

Cole-Hamilton, who became the leader of the three other LibDem MSPs without facing a vote, made the claim in an interview with Representing Border, which will be shown in full on Wednesday night.

The Edinburgh Western MSP claimed, not for the first time, that there is not a “mandate” for a second independence referendum, despite a solid pro-independence majority in the chamber.

Cole-Hamilton said: “There isn’t a mandate for a second independence referendum, and I say that advisedly because half way through the campaign Nicola pivoted away from calling for that mandate and said who do you want to lead us through the pandemic.

“People weren’t voting for the SNP in large numbers because of a hunger for independence or a referendum, they just didn’t want to change horses in the middle of a national crisis.”

The LibDem leader shared his contribution on Twitter, adding a caption which essentially repeated himself.

Reactions to the interview from users who are not the LibDem leader include the adjectives "shameless", "sad", and "deluded".

Edinburgh Western SNP - from Cole-Hamilton's constituency - tweeted: "Party in decline reduced to a rump of only four MSPs in their worst election result in the history of devolution - absolutely convinced it knows why people voted this way or that. #Alexknowsbest"

Again speaking to Representing Border and again not for the first time, the LibDem leader also said that he would work with the Tories to bolster support for the Union.

He claimed he was not “childish enough to say: ‘we’re not going to work with these guys because we don’t like the cut of their jib’”.

Cole-Hamilton said he would work with “anybody” who wanted to make the case for a progressive and reformed UK, but cautioned that he did not think the Tories had any desire to change the Union’s current set up.

The last time Cole-Hamilton made the same remarks, an SNP spokesperson said that “siding with Boris Johnson in denying democracy will end just as badly for the so-called Liberal Democrats as the last time their leader joined forces with a Tory Prime Minister”.

The LibDem-Tory coalition following the 2010 General Election saw Cole-Hamilton’s party almost wiped off the map, losing 49 of their 57 seats just five years later.