THE SNP has dropped its dedicated £1million fundraising drive for a second independence referendum in the wake of bruising election losses.

The party had been trying to raise campaign funds through its website, which went online within minutes of the First Minister announcing another referendum in March.

Featuring a video appeal from Ms Sturgeon, urged people to sign a pledge “to support Scotland’s referendum” and tried to popularise the social media tag #ScotRef.

It also included a cash appeal in which Ms Sturgeon asked people to “make a donation today”.

Monthly sums of £5, £10, £25, £50 and £100 were suggested next to the message: “Your contribution will greatly benefit the campaign.”

The donations drive was still running last Thursday, and by 6pm had raised £482,000, with 10 days of its 100-day operation left to go.

However the appeal disappeared from the website after the election, when it was replaced with an error message stating: “The page you were looking for was not found.”

The rest of the site, subtitled “Our Nation’s Future. Your Choice”, remains in place.

The SNP confirmed the donations section had been taken down, but suggested it had been raising money for the election, not a referendum.

A party spokesman said: “Our fundraising efforts were focused on the general election."

However is dedicated solely to the promotion of a second referendum and contains no mention of the 2017 general election whatsoever.

The removal of the fundraiser coincided with Ms Sturgeon acknowledging on Friday that her referendum plan had “undoubtedly” been a factor in the SNP losing 21 of its 56 MPs.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond and SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson were among the casualties in a tactical Unionist backlash against the SNP.

The Scottish Tories claimed 12 SNP scalps, Labour six and the LibDems three.

The First Minister also said she would “reflect carefully” on the result - a promise that would have been undermined by the SNP actively fundraising for a fresh ballot.

Ms Sturgeon appeared tetchy when asked about another referendum yesterday, telling the media at Westminster: “I have said I will reflect on the outcome of the election and I will do that carefully and in discussion with colleagues across the SNP.

“I won’t do it to a timetable dictated by headline-hungry journalists or based on any overly simplistic analysis of the election.”

Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “The fact the SNP have stopped fundraising through this website shows they are in retreat when it comes to a second independence referendum.

“With senior members of their party still refusing to rule out another vote, they need to come to terms with the result of the election and take it off the table altogether.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “What an absolute utter shambles from the Nationalists.

“No one believes this bare faced lie that the fundraising efforts were for the general election - the website was set up long before it was called and was explicitly for a second referendum.

“The reality is the SNP's plan for a divisive second referendum took a battering last Thursday and SNP politicians now don't know if they are dropping plans for a referendum or not. "

Ms Sturgeon is also under pressure to remove her husband, Peter Murrell, as the SNP’s chief executive, amid criticism of the party’s campaign and his ability to be objective.

Former SNP justice secretary Kenneth MacAskill has said Ms Sturgeon should appoint a deputy to Mr Murrell with a view to replacing him within a year.

He said Mr Murrell’s running of the SNP was compromised by his marriage to Ms Sturgeon, saying: “Even it is subconscious, it must affect his judgment.”