SCOTLAND has “no appetite whatsoever” for a second independence referendum if Britain votes for Brexit, Boris Johnson has insisted as he clashed with Alex Salmond in a live In-Out debate.

The former London mayor said the 55 per cent to 45 per cent vote in 2014 in favour of staying in the UK was a “very conclusive” result and should stand for a generation.

Speaking in a debate, sponsored by the Daily Telegraph and Huffington Post, the Conservative backbencher referred to Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in a TV head-to-head last week when, he said the First Minister was given the opportunity repeatedly to say whether there would be a second independence poll but refused to answer. “She recognises there’s no appetite in Scotland whatsoever for a new referendum,” he declared.

At this point, Mr Salmond intervened, saying: “You’re an expert in these things.”

Mr Johnson continued: “Politicians are paid to take important decisions. They should not regularly remit fundamental questions to people in this way. That’s why both the European Union question and the Scottish question should be generational ones.”

Earlier, the former First Minister read out the SNP’s Holyrood manifesto, which, he explained, talked of another independence referendum if there were a material change in circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will, which, he insisted, had been backed by 47 per cent of the Scottish electorate. “That’s the mandate,” declared the Gordon MP.

On immigration, Mr Salmond expressed frustration that it had been presented as an “awful thing” when he pointed out how, during the EU’s 43 year existence, only five per cent of the UK population had come from the continent.

“After 43 years that doesn’t strike me as the country being overrun, that strikes me as people who are hard-working and diligent, making an enormous contribution to this country and I’m fed up in this campaign, seeing them presented as a negative; it’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s not true.”

Pointing out how depopulation and emigration such as in Scotland had been a problem, he referred to the plight of the Brain family from Australia, who were now facing being “kicked out” by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, despite they being the sort of hard-working people Scotland needed.

Mr Johnson said he agreed with Mr Salmond and that the Brains were victims of an “imbalanced” immigration policy as a result of Britain’s EU membership.

“It’s control that matters,” insisted the MP for Uxbridge. “It’s a reason why across Europe you are seeing the rise of far right parties, this is a reason why you’re seeing immigration escalated in the whole conversation at the moment. That is because people feel they have not given democratic consent to what is happening...”

Mr Salmond said he did not accept this argument, telling Mr Johnson that the future of the Brain family was entirely under the control of the Conservative government.

“The idea is that your campaign can go to Scotland and say: ‘Look you can have the freedom in Scotland to have lots more immigrants,’ while you’re campaigning in England, saying keep them out at all costs. It's a total nonsense, Boris, and you know it.”

The Tory backbencher insisted the former FM had misrepresented his opinion, which was that the current immigration policy was unbalanced with a discrimination against people from outwith the EU.

Elsewhere, Mr Johnson and Mr Salmond also clashed on bananas.

The former mayor was recently criticised by suggesting the EU banned shops from selling bananas in bunches of more than three.

As the two politicians spoke over each other, the Tory MP insisted there were four EU directives regulating bananas, including one about not selling them with “abnormal curvature of the finger because Brussels says so”.

Mr Salmond, insisting bananas were not Mr Johnson’s strongest suit, complained that his Tory opponent was basing whether “we should leave the European Union and the single market of 500m people on the banana directive”.