The Prime Minister has "no right" to rule out a second independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted.

The Scottish First Minister and SNP leader said she was "not planning" to hold another such ballot but refused to rule it out - claiming it was up to the people of Scotland to decide.

Ms Sturgeon had argued throughout the recent general election campaign that a vote for her party was not a vote for Scotland to leave the UK.

But she said the result of the election, which saw the SNP win a record 56 seats at Westminster, was "beyond our wildest expectations".

In the wake of the nationalists' dramatic success, David Cameron said: "There isn't going to be another referendum."

He told Channel Four News: "We had the referendum and the SNP aren't pushing for another referendum actually.

"Nicola Sturgeon said the vote in the general election was not about another referendum."

The SNP leader has already set out that for there to be another ballot on the future of the UK, voters would have to back a party or parties that had this in their manifesto for a Holyrood election.

Ms Sturgeon has also said there would have to be some change in political circumstances - such as Scotland leaving the European Union against its will after an in/out EU referendum - before the SNP would put such a commitment in its manifesto.

The SNP leader told ITV's Loose Women: "We had that debate and that vote last year, and Scotland, against my better efforts, opted to stay part of the United Kingdom, to stay part of the Westminster system.

"It, therefore, is really important to us now that we get better politics out of Westminster because decisions that are taken there impact on the lives of people in Scotland just as they do elsewhere."

She added: "I'm not planning another referendum. Why I stop short of saying I absolutely guarantee it is the same reason I don't think David Cameron has got any right to rule it out.

"Whether there is another referendum or not is really down to what people in Scotland want, there can't be another referendum unless people vote for it. I can't impose it on Scotland if Scotland doesn't want it."

Ms Sturgeon said while SNP leaders had been "quietly confident" going into the general election, the "result was beyond our wildest expectations".

She said: "We were quietly confident we were going to do well, the polls have been showing that, our private polling had been showing that, but some of the majorities we faced in Labour seats in the heart of Glasgow were massive, so I don't think I ever expected to win 56 seats."

Ms Sturgeon, who is Scotland's first female First Minister, told how she is concerned that comments on her appearance and clothing in the media may deter women from a career in politics.

She said: "I'm used to reading pretty derogatory things about myself in the newspapers, about how I look and my hair and all that kind of stuff. For me, it's water off a duck's back.

"But it worries me that younger women who might be thinking about going into politics, they'll read that about me and think 'I don't fancy putting myself in the firing line for that'. It worries me that it puts women off going into politics.

"I think the more women we get in politics, the more that will change and I'm really passionate about seeing more women, particularly more women, come into politics."

She also revealed that former James Bond star Sir Sean Connery had given her tips on how to speak in public.

"I did once get some advice on how to project my voice from Sean Connery. It was all about how you breathe. That's my claim to fame," the First Minister said.