NICOLA Sturgeon has said that Liz Truss’s plans to block a second independence referendum are a “sign of fundamental weakness”.

Both Tory leadership candidates have ruled out granting a referendum as the Scottish Parliament continues its legal battle with the UK Government for the right to hold indyref2. 

Liz Truss is currently the frontrunner in the race to become the next prime minister with the new Conservative leader set to be announced on Monday. 

The hearing regarding whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a second referendum will take place on October 11 and 12. 

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday the First Minister said: “Whether Scotland has a referendum, whether Scotland does or does not vote to be independent, it really shouldn’t be up to any UK prime minister, actually it shouldn’t be up to a first minister either.

“This is about a fundamental principle of democracy. Now there is going to be a Supreme Court hearing in October, next month, that will look at whether or not the Scottish Parliament has the legal ability to legislate for a referendum regardless of what a UK prime minister says. 

“I hope the outcome of that will be positive but of course that is a matter for the court.”

In August, a Panelbase poll revealed that the majority of people would vote for independence regardless of who becomes the next prime minister.  

Sturgeon continued: “What cannot be escaped here, you know whatever Liz Truss or any prime minister says is the democratic aspirations of the people of Scotland. 

“You say I want to have a referendum next year, I do, but that was the basis on which I was elected last year.

“There is a democratic mandate and my message to Liz Truss is not to say I think I can persuade her to support independence, she is opposed to independence, she’s entitled to have that view. 

“But make the case for the continuation of the Union, I will make the case for independence and let the Scottish people decide.”

It’s been reported by The Sunday Times that senior UK Government figures are looking to impose new legislation which would see more than half of Scotland’s entire electorate vote Yes in order for the result to be accepted.

Nicola Sturgeon has said indyref2 is Liz Truss is expected to become Prime Minister on Monday

Reports suggest ministers are looking at plans that would require evidence for more than a year that at least 60% of voters in Scotland want a second referendum before the UK Government would consider it. 

Should this be agreed to, it would then require more than 50% of the whole electorate to vote for independence in order for it to be passed. 

Sturgeon added: “It is not a sign of strength on the part of Liz Truss to talk about blocking a referendum or as some reports today suggest, gerrymandering the rules for a referendum. 

READ MORE: UK Government considering legislation that would require 50 per cent of entire electorate to vote Yes in indyref2

“That is a sign of fundamental weakness and a lack of confidence in her case for the Union.”

Sturgeon said the reported reform would be “a changing of the basic rules of democracy that we have all abided by for our entire lifetimes and long before that”.

“Just because you fear losing a democratic contest, it’s not an excuse or doesn’t make it acceptable to rewrite the rules of democracy,” she added.

Sturgeon also said she is “profoundly concerned” that changes made during an emergency UK Budget could impact spending in Scotland.

“Right now, we’re working within budgets that are effectively fixed and finite, they are not rising in line with inflation, but the inflationary pressures are bearing down on our budget as they are with the household budgets of families across the country," she said.

The First Minister added that if Truss governs in the way she campaigned then “she’ll be a disaster for the UK”. 

However, she did also say that she would do her “best to build a constructive working relationship with her”.  

"It’s obviously the case that Liz Truss and I don’t agree on very much politically, but I’m a firm believer in giving anybody who’s coming into the office of prime minister a chance to prove themselves, and I will certainly do my best to build a constructive working relationship with her," said Sturgeon.

"If she governs how she has campaigned over the summer, she will be a disaster – not just for Scotland but for all of the UK – but let’s hope that’s not the case, because this is a very serious time for the UK and it needs very serious and very purposeful leadership."

When asked to expand on her view of Truss’s campaign, Sturgeon accused her of campaigning on the “niche priorities” of Tory members, such as tax cuts.

“The obsessions of a tiny, tiny number of Conservative Party members are not the right priorities for the country,” the FM said.

“It won’t take very long to see whether she is going to govern as a prime minister with a focus on the real priorities of the country or not – I think that will become very obvious and evident perhaps within the first 24 to 48 hours of her premiership."