THE No side won the 2014 referendum and Scotland should just "live with it", the former chief of Better Together has said.

Alistair Darling, a Labour peer and former chancellor, led the pro-Union campaign ahead of the 2014 vote.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC, he claimed that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not want a second referendum, despite her public push to hold one.

Darling suggested the Scottish Government did not know how it could hold a referendum legally without the consent of Westminster – although constitutional experts such as former Tory MSP Adam Tomkins have said that it is possible.

He also claimed that a second independence vote was a “distraction” aimed at keeping SNP supporters “going”.

The Labour peer said: “I don't think she [Sturgeon] wants her referendum any more than I do, because I think if you had it today, she'd lose.

“It's interesting she recognised the Border problem, she said it was a challenge. Well, we've seen in Northern Ireland what happens when you stick a border in the United Kingdom – it is more than a challenge … it's a complete disaster.

“And equally, you know, I used to go on and on and on about the currency question in 2014 and we’ve not got an answer to that yet, what currency will we have? She's got to, you know, she's got to keep her own troops going.”

The First Minister (below) is due to announce how the Scottish Government will legislate for a second referendum on Tuesday next week.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon insists Holyrood has ‘indisputable’ mandate to hold indyref2

Darling said that a second vote would be a “disaster” for the Yes side if it was lost, adding: “The majority of people in Scotland have indicated time and time again that they don't want one, you know, in the next two to five years.

“We've got a war going on in Europe ... We've got a massive cost of living problem. There are huge problems in health and education and so on.

“You know, I think people will be more pleased if we were dealing with those rather than referendums as you've seen in the UK with Brexit, they are extremely divisive. And the scars in Scotland are still there you know, eight years later.”

Darling suggested that Sturgeon had “given up” on tackling key issues and was instead presenting independence as “Nirvana”.

The latest Ipsos Mori survey showed the two sides of the independence debate deadlocked at 50%, with separate research from the Scottish Election Study showing that the majority of Scots believe the SNP-Green government has a mandate to hold indyref2.

The National: Boris Johnson

Asked about Boris Johnson’s (above) effect on the independence question, Darling was critical of the Prime Minister, but played down his role in the debate.

He said: “It's interesting that you know, seven years, eight years after the referendum, despite Brexit, despite Boris Johnson, if you look at the polling, the No vote has remained consistently ahead of the Yes vote. Not much, but it has, which shows that the people that you would need to win a referendum from the nationalists’ point of view are not shifting.

“There is no doubt that Boris Johnson is a recruiting sergeant, you know, for Scottish nationalists … I do not think he's fit to be Prime Minister.

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“I think he's dragging us down internationally. I think you know, the fact you've got somebody you cannot rely on what he's saying. And he's been doing this for years, that to me, renders him unfit to be Prime Minister.”

On Brexit, the Labour grandee added: “I voted to stay in the European Union. You know, I believe in open trade, I believe in working with people, but I recognise that there was a referendum. Five or six years ago, my side lost with this so we have to live with it, just as the way that you know, in Scotland I wish we just lived with the result. Let's live with it.”

Responding, the SNP said Darling should "apologise to the people of Scotland for the multiple disasters his No campaign has delivered".

The National: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 28 :  Deputy Leader of the SNP Stewart Hosie during the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spring Conference ahead of the 2015 General Election at the SECC on March 28, 2015 in Glasgow Scotland. During her speech, the SNP's leader

Stewart Hosie MP (above), the party's independence campaign coordinator, went on: “He should answer for a litany of broken promises, with Scotland now suffering the catastrophic consequences of the Brexit the No campaign said would never happen, the Prime Minister they said would never be in Downing Street and a cost of living crisis which the broken Westminster system is fuelling.

“While Lord Darling rakes in £300 a day for simply turning up in the House of Lords, millions of people across Scotland are struggling to pay for their weekly shopping, terrified to open their energy bills and subject to state pensions which lag far behind those of many of our neighbours.

“The people of Scotland have secured a cast-iron democratic mandate to decide their own future when they elected the biggest pro-independence majority of MSPs ever returned to Holyrood – and the Trump-like efforts of Boris Johnson, Alistair Darling and others to deny that democratic reality sound increasingly absurd.”