BREXIT is not the political game-changer the SNP have been looking for to hold and win a second independence referendum, according to a new poll for The Herald.

The BMG survey found even a “hard Brexit” casting Scotland out of the single market would sway only 12 per cent of people currently against having another referendum, leaving the country evenly divided on the issue.

Those who wanted a second referendum were also deeply split over its timing.

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Roughly a third wanted a vote before formal EU withdrawal talks begin next spring, a third wanted one after talks start, and a third said timing didn’t matter.

BMG research Director Dr Michael Turner said it was “clear as day” Brexit had not changed many minds among those against a second referendum - almost all of whom oppose independence - while there was confusion among Yes supporters about what to do next.

The findings are a blow to Nicola Sturgeon who will put “Tory Brexit” front and centre when she gives the welcome address at the opening of the SNP conference in Glasgow today.

Confirming her 54 MPs will vote against the Great Repeal Bill paving the way for Brexit next year, she will say: “Scotland didn't vote for that and so neither will our MPs.

“We will work to persuade others – Labour, Liberals and moderate Tories – to join us in a coalition against a hard Brexit: not just for Scotland, but for the whole UK.

“The Prime Minister may have a mandate to take England and Wales out of the EU but she has no mandate whatsoever to remove any part of the UK from the single market.”

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Ms Sturgeon will also attack the “disgrace” of Tory “intolerance” since Brexit.

“It shames the Tory party and all who speak for it. Make no mistake – the right wing of the Tory party is now in the ascendancy and it is seeking to hijack the referendum result.

“Brexit has become Tory Brexit. They are using it as licence for the xenophobia that has long lain under the surface – but which is now in full view.”

The BMG survey found 47 per cent of people against having another referendum, compared to 38 per cent in favour, and 12 per cent undecided.

Of those opposed, 12 per cent said a hard Brexit would change their mind, 75 per cent said it would have no effect, and 13 per cent didn’t know.

Among those wanting a second referendum, 39 per cent said it should be before the UK triggered Article 50 next March, 33 per cent said it should be later, and 28 per cent were indifferent.

Once BMG factored in the response to the follow-up Brexit question, 43 per cent backed a second referendum, 42 per cent were against, and15 per cent were undecided, better for the SNP but not a solid base on which to go to the country, despite the First Minister ramping up the Brexit threat.

Conference delegates vote tomorrow on whether to link a referendum automatically to Brexit.

Read more: Dirty tricks row over election to SNP top table

Dr Turner said: “It is not a game changer. The vast majority of people who think there shouldn’t be an independence referendum are not going to be swayed by whether or not we leave the EU.

"This group are more bothered about UK identity and break-up of the UK than any perceived European identity.

"On the other side of the coin, those people who do want independence are much more divided about when a referendum should be called.”

In recent weeks UK ministers have prioritised immigration control over the single market when discussing Brexit, alarming business leaders who fear tariffs will cause an economic shock.

The SNP was criticised yesterday after it was reported the Scottish Government had eight officials working on draft legislation for a second referendum, but just two on Brexit.

Opposition parties called on the First Minister to drop all plans for a second referendum.

Tory chief whip John Lamont said: “Cheap rabble-rousing in front of the party faithful won't obscure the First Minister's failure to speak for the majority of Scots - by taking her threat of a second referendum off the table."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Scotland needs a government that has answers for the future. Not one that plays a broken record and claims that independence – an argument of the past – is an answer for the challenges of tomorrow.”

LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael added: “The First Minister’s obsession with independence weakens efforts to protect the benefits of our place in the EU.”

An SNP spokesman said: "We welcome this poll which indicates that in the event of hard Brexit most people would want another independence referendum."

BMG surveyed 1,010 Scottish adults online between September 29 and October 3. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.