By Alistair Grant

NICOLA Sturgeon has warned Boris Johnson he cannot “bludgeon the nation of Scotland into seeing the world as he does” as she insisted it is unsustainable to block a second independence referendum.

The First Minister made the comments as she posed for photos in Dundee with the SNP’s new MPs after the party won 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in a landslide victory.

It came as Johnson pledged to recover the UK’s “national self-confidence, our mojo, our self-belief” following his own triumphant result in Thursday’s poll.

During a symbolic visit to Tony Blair’s old Sedgefield constituency in County Durham – which fell to the Tories on Thursday night – he pledged to repay the trust of former Labour supporters who had backed him.

He said: “I can imagine people’s pencil’s hovering over the ballot paper and wavering before coming down for us and the Conservatives, and I know that people may have been breaking the voting habits of generations to vote for us.

“And I want the people of the North East to know that we in the Conservative Party, and I, will repay your trust – and everything that we do, everything that I do as your Prime Minister, will be devoted to repaying that trust.”

The SNP landslide in Scotland and Johnson’s majority of 80 – the biggest Tory election win for 30 years – have set the UK on course for a mammoth constitutional clash over independence.

Sturgeon is expected to formally request the power to hold another referendum in the coming days.

There is speculation she will also ask for the power itself to be devolved, so that the UK Government can no longer stand in the way of a second vote.

The First Minister previously raised the prospect of taking legal action if the Conservatives continue to reject calls for a referendum, insisting the issue has never been tested in court.

Downing Street said Johnson made his opposition to a second independence referendum clear during a phone call with Sturgeon on Friday.

However, speaking at the V&A Museum in Dundee, Sturgeon said of the conversation: “I wasn’t sure how much he’d had a chance to catch up with the Scottish results.

“I pointed out to him, politely of course after I congratulated him, that the Scottish Tories, having fought the election on the single issue of opposition to an independence referendum, had lost – lost vote share, lost more than half of their seats.

“It was a watershed election on Thursday and it’s very clear that Scotland wants a different future to the one chosen by much of the rest of the UK.

“Scotland showed its opposition to Boris Johnson and the Tories, said no again to Brexit, and made very clear that we want the future of Scotland, whatever that turns out to be, to be decided by people who live here.

“You can’t bludgeon a nation into accepting your view of the world when it is made very clear that it doesn’t have that view of the world.

“It couldn’t really be any clearer from the results of this election that Scotland doesn’t want a Boris Johnson government, it doesn’t want to leave the European Union, and it wants to be able to determine its own future, whatever that future turns out to be.”

Sturgeon said the Prime Minister should have the guts to make the case for the Union.

She said: “This idea that the Tories can just say no and sort of imprison Scotland in a union against its will, I just don’t think will hold.

“The union can only continue to exist by consent if the Scottish people want it to.

“And you have to be prepared to allow the Scottish people to choose if you want to make the argument that it should be part of the union.

“So if Boris Johnson has confidence in the case for the union and the UK, and for Scotland staying part of that, he should have the guts to make that case and let people decide because he won’t get away with just saying no and trying to bludgeon the nation of Scotland into seeing the world as he does, which most of us don’t.”

She added: “There is no doubt that the prospect of a Boris Johnson government for the next five years is worrying for people.

“It’s a grim reality and in my view, it makes that case for Scotland being able to choose something different all the more urgent and all the more important.”

The First Minister also said Labour had some “deep soul-searching” to do following a disastrous night for the party in Scotland in which it lost six out of its seven MPs.

Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee – its governing body – held a six-hour meeting yesterday to try to thrash out a way forward. A source said little was agreed.

Sturgeon said: “I don’t know where Labour in Scotland goes from here, but Labour UK-wide have got some big questions to answer about their own direction before I think people like me can begin to work out how we might potentially work with them or not in the future.”

Elsewhere, the Prime Minister vowed to repay the trust of former Labour supporters whose votes helped deliver him victory in the General Election.

Speaking in Sedgefield, one of a swathe of seats across the North, Midlands and north Wales in Labour’s hitherto impregnable “red wall” to go blue, he said: “We believe in giving opportunity to everyone.

“We believe that talent is evenly distributed throughout our country, but opportunity is unfairly distributed.

“We are going to rectify that as a One Nation Conservative government, as a people’s government, that is what we are going to do.”

In a message to Tory MPs, Johnson also echoed the words of Blair when he became prime minister in 1997.

He said: “Remember, we are not the masters, we are the servants now. Our job is to serve the people of this country.”

The Prime Minister insisted his Government’s priorities and those of its new supporters are the same.

“It is getting Brexit done but it is also delivering on our National Health Service, our education, safer streets, better hospitals, a better future for our country,” he said.

“We are going to recover our national self-confidence, our mojo, our self-belief.

“It is going to be a wonderful, wonderful time for our country. Our country will stand tall in the world.”

Johnson is expected to announce a small Government reshuffle in the coming days.

He has also pledged to reintroduce his Brexit withdrawal agreement bill before Christmas, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on January 31.

MPs will return to Westminster on Tuesday, before the Queen formally opens Parliament on Thursday.

On Friday, Scottish Tory stand-in leader Jackson Carlaw told supporters he will “stand firmly” against a second independence referendum. His party lost seven of its 13 MPs on Thursday.