SUPPORT for Scottish independence has remained all but static despite the Brexit vote, a new poll suggests today, as Nicola Sturgeon is accused of being in retreat over holding a second referendum on Scotland's future.

The Kantar TNS face-to-face poll of more than 1,000 people aged over 16 in Scotland showed 41 per cent in favour of independence with 47 per cent opposed while 12 per cent said they did not know. When the undecideds are removed, the split is 53 to 47 in favour of Scotland staying within the Union.

Last week, a YouGov survey showed similar findings with a split of 54/46 for the Union when the don’t knows were omitted.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon: Second referendum while I am First Minister

The vote in the 2014 referendum was 55 per cent to 45 per cent for Scotland remaining in Britain.

The pollster described the two per cent increase in the Yes vote as “not statistically significant”.

Its head in Scotland, Tom Costley, said: “In the aftermath of the Brexit vote and Scotland’s contrasting position with much of the rest of Britain, the SNP would have hoped for more of an uplift in support for Scottish independence. The recent launch of the SNP’s ‘listening exercise’ appears to be timely as it seeks to understand how it can persuade more Scottish voters to back the independence option prior to seeking a second referendum on the subject.”

The eminent psephologist John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, noted: “This is relatively bad news for the SNP in the sense that hitherto we had two polls both from the same company that suggested that nothing much had shifted before Brexit. Now a differing polling method shows a similar story that Scotland is divided down the middle but it is not any more pro-independence now that it was before the Brexit vote.”

The SNP stressed how every poll since the EU referendum vote had shown support for independence higher than in September 2014 with most showing an outright majority for independence.

Read more: No 10 shoots down suggestions of a 2017 indyref

A spokesman said: "The Scottish Government's priority is to protect Scotland's place in Europe after the overwhelming Remain vote in the EU referendum. If it becomes clear our place in Europe cannot be protected within the UK, then many will be looking at the question of independence with fresh eyes."

Scottish Labour said the new snapshot came as no surprise and added: “It is time that, instead of focussing on the constitution, this government focussed on improving our schools, hospitals and vital public services.”

Following the June 23 referendum result when the UK voted 52 points to 48 to leave but Scotland voted 62 to 38 to remain, the First Minister said it was “highly likely” that there would be a second independence referendum. Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster and favourite to become Ms Sturgeon’s deputy, claimed Scotland was now “on the brink of independence”.

But last week when the FM unveiled her programme for government she announced that her administration only proposed to hold a consultation on a draft referendum bill. In a month’s time, the SNP faithful gather in Glasgow for their annual conference when the party leader will come under pressure not to wait too long before pushing the button on a new independence vote.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, in a speech on Brexit in London, noted: “The unstoppable bandwagon[towards a second independence poll] of late June now appears to have been parked in a lay-by.”

She claimed Ms Sturgeon found herself “paralysed” by a dilemma; faced in one regard by the “constitutional hawks”, wanting the SNP generals to attack, while, in another, by pragmatists, who recognised passion alone was not enough to win over the hard-headed moderate Scots, who said No two years ago.

Read more: Sturgeon hits back after chancellor rules out separate EU status for Scotland

Asked if, therefore, she thought that a second independence poll was now more unlikely to take place before 2020, the Scottish Tory leader claimed the FM had “over-reached” herself with her initial response post the Brexit vote, adding: “You have seen a retrenchment from the start of summer to where we are now in terms of language and approach from the Scottish Government.”

The Scottish Tory leader announced she was setting up a Brexit panel of MSPs and experts, the latter including Sir Iain McMillan, the former head of CBI Scotland, and Gavin Hewitt, the former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association. They would, she explained, report to her on the best way “Brexit can deliver for Scotland and, crucially, for the entire UK”.

In other developments:

*Chancellor Philip Hammond distanced himself from his cabinet colleague Liam Fox, who at the weekend rebuked some business leaders as “fat and lazy,” saying, after a meeting with UK exporters, that he backed them and that their goods were vital in ensuring Britain outside the EU remained globally competitive;

*Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warned companies not to use Brexit as an excuse to cut jobs and workers' rights and

*ahead of Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire's first official visit to Dublin today, Charles Flanagan, Ireland's foreign affairs minister, warned that his country was cautious of British reassurances there would be no hard or heavily militarised border on the island after Brexit.