DENYING Scots a second referendum would be “wrong, unfair and utterly unacceptable”, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday, as she was told voters were “sick to death” of SNP games.

Opening a landmark two-day debate on whether Holyrood should have the power to stage a new referendum, the First Minister insisted people should have a choice over accepting Brexit.

Arguing there should be a new independence vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, when the terms of Brexit were clear, she said: "The future of the people of Scotland should not be imposed upon us. It should be the choice of the people of Scotland.”

In angry scenes, the First Minister faced a barrage of criticism, including claims she lacked a mandate to call a vote, and was simply using Brexit as a pretext to secure independence.

She was repeatedly accused of double-standards - ignoring votes in Holyrood when it suited her, then claiming Holyrood’s authority was “sacrosanct” when the numbers were on her side.

The First Minister’s plan to ask Westminster for referendum powers under Section 30 of the 1998 Scotland Act is expected to pass today when the Greens join forces with the SNP.

Ms Sturgeon last week said a referendum would let Scots to choose between Brexit in the UK and independence and a closer relationship with Europe.

Theresa May then ruled out a vote on Ms Sturgeon’s timetable, saying “now is not the time” given the need to focus on two years of Brexit negotiations.

But Ms Sturgeon said there was an “unquestionable democratic mandate” for a vote, and blocking it ran "the real risk of undermining the democratic process".

She said: “The voice of this parliament has been ignored at every step of the way and far from any indication of new powers, we now face the prospect of the UK Government using Brexit to reserve for itself powers in areas that are currently devolved to this parliament.

"All of this raises fundamental questions for Scotland. If the UK Government can ignore this parliament on one of the most fundamental issues that the country faces, what meaning can ever be attached to the idea that the UK is a partnership of equals?

"As a country, we can't avoid change. But we can choose what kind of change we want.

"In the circumstances we now face, for the UK Government to stand in the way of Scotland even having a choice would be, in my view, wrong, unfair and utterly unsustainable."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the 2014 referendum process had been described by the SNP as the “gold standard”.

Pushing ahead without consensus was a “tin pot approach”, she said.

Reminding Ms Sturgeon most polls showed a majority of Scots against a referendum, she said: “Most people in Scotland are sick to death of the SNP’s games. They don’t want another referendum any time soon, just three years after the last one.

“The SNP’s plan was not actually about trying to hold a fair, legal and decisive referendum.

“It was about a well-rehearsed game to put forward unworkable proposals, wait for Westminster politicians to point that out, then rush to any nearby microphone – angry face attached – to trot out the same old tired complaints.

“This bull-dozer approach is completely at odds with the way the 2014 referendum was held.”

She highlighted how the SNP Government had taken no action after five recent defeats on Holyrood votes, such as the vote to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

She said: "Why do they exclaim that the Westminster government should recognise votes in the Scottish Parliament when the Scottish Government does not do so?"

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Ms Sturgeon was back “talking about the only thing that has ever really mattered to the SNP” instead of governing the country for all.

She said: “Nicola Sturgeon wakes up every single day thinking of ways to engineer another referendum. Because leaving the UK is the only thing that matters to her.

"Brexit isn't the motivation for another referendum - it's just the latest excuse.”

She added: “It is not this union of nations which is intrinsically unjust or unfair, it's the actions of the powerful within it. I hate what the Tories are doing. But the SNP cannot escape from the facts. Leaving the UK would make things much worse for the poorest people in Scotland."

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said it would be “absurd” not to react to Brexit.

He said: "The situation is changed not only by the EU referendum result, but by everything the UK Government has done with it.

"Theresa May promised to develop a shared approach with all the devolved administrations before moving forward with article. We can now see how empty that promise was."

He attacked the idea of Scots having no say on a Brexit deal which would be voted on by Westminster, the European Parliament and the parliaments of the 27 other EU nations.

"That would leave the future of Scotland in the hands of everybody else in the whole of Europe, the citizens of Scotland the only people voiceless, voiceless, in that process.

"I don't think that we can accept that, I won't vote for it."

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie said the SNP was trying to use Brexit to secure independence without promising independence would reverse Brexit.

He said: “They will use the EU to get a referendum even though their referendum won’t get the EU. They are cynically courting the one in three independence supporters who backed Brexit.

“They will use pro-Europeans to get a referendum but sell them out to win independence. It is low politics for narrow gain.”

There was also repeated criticism of the Greens from the pro-UK parties.

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said Mr Harvie would “seek to protect the Yes alliance first, and Scotland second” and was a “nationalist first and an environmentalist second".

Tory Adam Tomkins said the SNP had yet to answer the key questions which dogged the independence side in 2014.

He said: "They are clueless on the currency, at sea on Schengen, in denial about the deficit and bewildered by the border."

Closing, SNP Brexit minister Michael Russell said the only way to address the issue of Scotland voting to Remain in the EU and the UK to Leave it was to put it to the people.

Anyone ignoring the SNP mandate and Holyrood’s decision was “not a democrat”, he said.