SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross dodged several questions on Scotland's pathway to independence as he claimed it wasn't insulting to call Nicola Sturgeon's plan a "pretend referendum". 

Ross featured on the Sunday Show as the First Minister prepares to announce a route map to a second independence referendum on Tuesday. 

He has repeatedly said he would not take part in a referendum that was not agreed to by the UK Government, while Boris Johnson has insisted time and again he would not grant a Section 30 order. 

Ross was asked multiple questions about how Scotland could get self-determination if not through a referendum, as it was highlighted to him the United Nations deems this a key principle of democracy. 

He was also probed on whether a democratically elected government should be allowed to ask the country their opinion on a question - given Nicola Sturgeon won last year's election on a manifesto pledging another independence vote.

And he was asked whether he would fight a referendum if a Bill was passed by Parliament and the courts. 

But the Highlands and Islands MSP refused to be drawn on any of these issues and insisted any vote that was not signed off by Westminster would be a "waste of time".

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SCOTLAND Questions. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

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The SNP have accused him of a "shameless betrayal of democracy" by refusing to acknowledge the "basic human right" to self-determination. 

Ross said: "I’m not going to play Sturgeon’s games. I’m going to take no part in her pretend referendum when there’s real work to be done."

When asked whether he thought it was "insulting" to call it a pretend referendum when the SNP won the election pledging one, he said: "No because I think Nicola Sturgeon said the 2014 referendum was the gold standard.

"That was with the agreement of the UK Government with a Section 30 order. We know Nicola Sturgeon has not even asked for another Section 30 order, yet she is going forward with her plans to hold another referendum when it’s not the right time.

"The constitution is reserved under the Scotland Act 1998 to the UK Parliament which is why in 2014 it took a Section 30 order from the UK Government to allow a gold standard, in Nicola Sturgeon’s words, referendum to be held and anything without that I think would just be a waste of time, a waste of resources and not the priorities people expect us to be focused on."

When he was asked if he would fight for the Union if a referendum Bill got through Parliament and the courts, he dismissed the question and called them "two very big ifs" despite there being a pro-independence majority in Holyrood.

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Ross said: "Those are two very big ifs.

"They [the Scottish Government] have been promising a referendum every year since they lost in 2014 and since then we have seen major challenges for the country. I think the government of Scotland should be focused on these issues, not trying to divide Scotland all over again on a constitutional question that was answered in 2014."

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said Ross was becoming "increasingly like Donald Trump" as he continues to speak out against a second vote.

She said: “In his desperation to defend the indefensible, Douglas Ross is increasingly like Donald Trump. Denying the reality of the SNP’s 2021 election victory – which was even greater than the one of 2011 - makes him sound exactly like the former US President and his supporters.

“It is a damning indictment of the Tories’ destruction of standards in public life that they are prepared to deny Scotland even basic UN human rights. That is a shameless betrayal of democracy.

“As well as denying democracy, Douglas Ross continues to prioritise Westminster control over the needs of the people of Scotland. Yet he can’t answer why, under that Westminster control, a country as resource-rich as Scotland is lagging so far behind almost all of our European neighbours on a range of economic league tables.

“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 Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and others to deny that democratic reality are increasingly absurd.”

At the end of the interview, Ross was questioned about what his positive case for the Union was, and he added: "A positive case for the union was our vaccination scheme. The vaccinations we had across Scotland were [as] part of the UK.

"We were able to cure and develop vaccines far quicker than any other part of Europe. We were able to do that because of the might of the UK. I’m happy to defend that any day."