ANAS Sarwar has insisted independence would not make Scotland a "fairer" country as voters urged him to change his stance on the issue.

The Labour leader was a guest on the BBC's Debate Night show on Wednesday and said he "genuinely believed" leaving the UK would not make Scotland more equal and demand for independence would fall if the UK simply disposed of the Tory government at Westminster.

A voter in the audience said he didn't feel he could vote for Labour because they were denying people the chance to have a conversation about independence and encouraged Sarwar to adopt a more neutral standpoint.

Singer and trade unionist Iona Fyfe, who was also on the panel, backed him up and said she might have felt she could vote for Sarwar's party if they stood more in the middle on independence.

Sarwar said: "I get lots of people saying to me Labour would win elections, Labour would knock it out the park if only they supported independence.

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"I genuinely don’t believe independence would make our country fairer, I don’t think it would make it more equal, I don’t think it would give us the right role in terms of how we punch above our weight not just in the UK but right around the world.

"The big contest we face right now is not a referendum contest, the big challenge we’re going to face in the run-up to the general election is a campaign to boot out Boris Johnson."

Fyfe said it was clear Scotland wanted to take its own future into its own hands, given Holyrood has a majority of independence-supporting MSPs.

She told Sarwar: "As a trade unionist and someone who is very involved in the musicians union, maybe growing up I would’ve been a Labour voter if they were more neutral on independence.

"But we see a mandate of 62 SNP seats last year in Holyrood, and there is now a Green and SNP coalition, and this result last week shows people are not voting for beergate, not for partygate, not for all of this corrupt PPE scandals, we’re done with that.

"We want to take our future in our own hands. And for me, maybe I would’ve been a Labour voter growing up, but I’m not."

Sarwar replied: "That's like saying we should’ve been neutral on Brexit. I think Brexit has been bad for the UK. Why should we stay neutral on something that we believe is wrong for our country?

"I’m going to argue what I think is best for Scotland. I believe if we can get rid of this out-of-touch, arrogant, corrupt Tory government, I believe demand for independence would fall."