SCOTLAND'S full potential will only be realised with independence, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday, buoying SNP supporters with the hope that she may be moving towards calling a second referendum.

The SNP leader and First Minister said that despite lack of independence her party was using "every power at its disposal to deliver for the people of Scotland".

She used a speech to the SNP National Council in Glasgow to defend her party's record after 11 years in government.

Sturgeon said: "We know that Scotland's full potential will only be realised when we have the normal powers of an independent country – but not being independent yet has not stopped us doing our best to improve the lives of the people of Scotland."

She added that the Tories "want to give tax cuts to the richest – instead of investing in the NHS. They are dismantling the post-war welfare state," describing them as, "a party, after all, that hasn't won a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for over 60 years. A party that struggles to even get the levels of support they got under Margaret Thatcher."

Her message to the Tories, "You have no mandate for your hard Brexit. No mandate for your cuts. And no mandate for your attacks on the welfare state."

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser responded, that the SNP's record was "nothing to shout about".

He said: "Economic growth has been pathetic compared to the rest of the UK, and to make matters worse they've broken a manifesto pledge and raised taxes on hardworking Scots."

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "This is woeful stuff from Nicola Sturgeon.

"Her party had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a position where it supported income tax rises but even then only tinkered round the edges and still delivered a massive cut to lifeline public services."