NICOLA Sturgeon has slammed Tory plans to offer a vote on Scottish independence to Scots living in other parts of the UK.

The First Minister responded to a story that saw senior Tories suggest that people born in Scotland but now living in other parts of the UK should be given a vote in a second independence campaign.

She described this latest push to ramp up the pro-Union argument as an effort to "rig" the conditions for a second referendum.

Sturgeon tweeted: "I see the anti independence campaign is trying to rig the rules of indyref2 again (tho in doing so they also concede that it’s going to happen). Maybe they should just argue their case on its merits and allow everyone who lives in Scotland to decide democracy."

It was revealed earlier today that senior Tories are urging Boris Johnson to allow Scots living in other parts of the UK to vote in another referendum.

They are also pushing for Ruth Davidson to be appointed as a constitutional secretary. Davidson stepped down as Scottish Tory leader and is expected to enter the House of Lords after being nominated for a peerage.

The new role would effectively make Davidson head of the pro-Union campaign.

A Tory Cabinet minister told The Times: “We know Sturgeon will start trying to force another referendum as soon as she thinks it is politically tenable again, so there are things we can and should do now to be ready for her.

"One thing is to open up eligibility of the vote to all Scots in the UK, not just those living in Scotland. The other is to bring Ruth back into the front line. She is the best pro-Union voice we have.”

READ MORE: Tories pushing for Scots in rest of UK to have a vote on independence

Another senior Tory figure who was not named suggested that pro-Union voices need to take advantage of a supposed dip in support for independence in recent polling.

They said: “Independence is behind in the polls now, and Sturgeon is getting flak from her own side for not talking about it since the election.

"We need to get out there on the front foot and start acting like we’re ahead and not just wait for her to catch up again, which was the catastrophic mistake we made after the 2014 referendum.”

While the Yes vote had been ahead in Scottish independence polling throughout most of 2020, No took a narrow lead in some polls in the run-up to May's Holyrood election.

It is estimated that about 800,000 people who were born in Scotland now live in England and up to 50,000 live in Wales.

Allowing Scots living elsewhere to have a say in an independence referendum was debated prior to the 2014 vote. Tories claim there is precedent for it considering the decision to allow British citizens living overseas a vote in the 2016 EU referendum.

Davidson told The Times that she would not rule out a ministerial job in the future, but indicated that the time is not yet right.