The SNP want to ‘keep the wounds of the independence debate open’, according to Ruth Davidson.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Scottish Conservative leader claimed that the SNP wanted to keep the ‘fissure’ between independence and pro-union supporters open for electoral advantage.

However, the SNP said that Ms Davidson had used the prospect of a referendum during their Holyrood election campaign as a 'smoke screen' to hide Tory plans to introduce prescription and higher education charges.

Ms Davidson told the Telegraph: "It’s become apparent that the SNP wants to keep this fissure open in Scottish public life for as long as they can because they receive electoral advantage for it – locked in 45 per cent of the vote.

Read more: SNP must earn right to propose second indyref, says Nicola Sturgeon

“At the moment she’s saying that a Brexit vote might be enough for a material change, in the autumn she will probably say that recommissioning Trident would be enough material change.

“Next year it will be house prices or not enough bunny rabbits.

The Herald:

“For the next five years it’s just going to be a moveable feast of what keeps the grievance going and that doesn’t allow us as a country to move on.”

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's refusal to rule out second independence referendum is 'beneath her', says Ruth Davidson

Last week, Ms Davidson said that the SNP had ‘utterly ignored’ the result of the 2014 referendum.

She told the Daily Telegraph that she had chosen to ‘step up’ her pro-Union campaign after Nicola Sturgeon unveiled plans for a new independence drive this summer. Ms Davidson said that she now had to try and convince Yes voters that their needs could be met within the UK.

However, the SNP said that no politician has the right to refuse an independence referendum in the future if there is public support for it.

A spokesperson for the SNP said: "Ruth Davidson has based her entire election campaign around the prospect of a referendum as a smoke screen to hide Tory plans to introduce prescription charges and charge students at least £6000 for higher education.

The Herald:

"We respect the result of the referendum, but no politician has the right to refuse a referendum in the future if public opinion demands one."

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that Brexit could lead trigger a second independence referendum if Scotland voted to stay in the EU.

The First Minister also made it clear during the SNP conference earlier this month that the party must earn the right to propose a second independence referendum.

Read more: I'd 'very much' like independence referendum in next five years, says Nicola Sturgeon

The Conservatives are currently campaigning to become the main opposition party at Holyrood, with Ms Davidson claiming the Tories and Labour are ‘neck and neck’.