NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of being out of touch with reality after failing to discuss the impact of the general election on a second referendum with her cabinet.

Her spokesman said ministers had discussed the election’s outcome on Brexit, but had not talked about what it meant for the Scottish Government’s independence plans.

Tuesday was the first meeting of the Scottish cabinet since the SNP lost a third of its MPs amid a tactical Unionist backlash against the idea of a fresh vote on the constitution.

However Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman said the election result had delivered a “triple lock” in favour of holding a second referendum once the terms of Brexit were clear.

Launching the SNP manifesto last month, Ms Sturgeon said that if the SNP won most Scottish seats it would reinforce the “cast-iron mandate” for a referendum secured in the 2016 Scottish election and then enhanced by MSPs voting to hold one by spring 2019.

Ms Sturgeon said on Friday that she would “reflect carefully” on how to proceed with her referendum plans, and take soundings from senior party colleagues.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, her spokesman said ministers agreed there was now “a substantial opportunity for alternatives to hard Brexit”.

The SNP Government remained “absolutely committed” to staying in the EU single market to protect Scotland’s interests, and membership of it was still “paramount”, he said.

Theresa May is being widely urged to soften her Brexit plans, with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and others calling for economic interests to come ahead of immigration control.

The First Minister’s spokesman said the Scottish Government was ready to work with other parties at Westminster and other devolved administrations to change the course of Brexit.

He said: "If it does nothing else, the outcome of the election shows the need for consensus."

But when asked if the Scottish Cabinet had considered the impact of the election on its own referendum plans, he said: "There was no discussion, no. There was a discussion of the outcome of the election in relation to Brexit, but no specific discussion of a referendum."

He was also unable to offer a timescale for Ms Sturgeon’s long-promised “next steps” on securing a referendum against the UK’s Government wishes, or say when the Scottish Government’s draft referendum bill would formally enter Holyrood.

In a joint statement, the 13 Scottish Tory MPs elected last week said the result in Scotland had been a “damning verdict” on Ms Sturgeon’s proposals and she now had to “face up to reality”.

They also suggested Ms Sturgeon might destabilise the Brexit negotiations.

They said: “The prospect of a second referendum alarmed the majority of Scots who do not want to face another painful period of upheaval and division.

“She asked them to vote on it - and the SNP lost 21 seats and half a million votes. It was a damning verdict.

"Unless we present a united front to the EU, Nicola Sturgeon will disrupt our negotiations. And unless she gets back to the day job, Scotland will continue to pay a high price.

"So she needs to end her denial, listen to what the people of Scotland have said and face up to the reality.

“She needs to look the Scottish people in the eye and tell them she has given up on a second independence referendum."

"Unless and until she does, she is putting her party ahead of her country - and we will not stand for it.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "Clearly independence has become the elephant in the room for Nicola Sturgeon. We want the Scottish cabinet focused on jobs, schools and hospitals - but it is staggering that SNP ministers did not discuss dropping a referendum given Thursday's result."

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie added: “The SNP lost more votes and more MPs than any other UK party but Nicola Sturgeon insults voters by not even holding a cabinet discussion on independence - the very reason for that decline. It is arrogant and absurd that the SNP Leader thinks that losing 13 per cent of the vote and 21 MPs, including the former First Minister and Deputy Leader, is an endorsement of her plans for independence.”