Leader of the Labour party Sir Keir Starmer has said it would be pointless to deny the recent increase in support for Scottish independence.

However, speaking at a "Call Keir" event in Glasgow, he said the Scottish Government's focus should not stray from the pandemic at hand.

Last week an Ipsos Mori survey found that support for independence was at an all-time high, with 58 per cent of people polled saying they were in support of an independent Scotland.

On the subject of increasing support for Scottish independence, the Labour leader said: “There’s no point in me contending that doesn’t broadly reflect where a lot of people are in Scotland, I don’t think that’s a credible position to take.”

However, he added that a number of other polls had shown independence is not a priority for people in Scotland, with tackling the pandemic and the economic recovery being the priority for most people.

READ MORE: Bombshell new poll puts support for independence at record high of 58 per cent

A Survation poll in September of 1,008 Scots found fewer than one third had independence as a top priority.

He said: “I think that feeds into an argument that, in the middle of a pandemic, it really isn’t the time to be having a discussion about independence, it’s the time to be working through how we’re going to respond to the pandemic.”

Last week’s poll showed Scottish Labour’s support was at 13% in the constituency and list votes, with the party remaining in third position.

The Labour leader said he is working with colleagues north of the border “every week” in preparation for next year’s Holyrood election.

Sir Keir’s intervention comes days after Scottish Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said another independence referendum could be held as early as the latter part of next year.

The Scottish Government has pledged to publish a draft Bill before the May election outlining the timescale and question for another vote.

Mr Russell told the BBC on Wednesday: “If the Scottish people endorse (the draft Bill at the election) and wish it to happen, then it must happen, and we’re not going to do anything other than assume that it will happen in those circumstances – if the Scottish people speak then they have to be heard and there will have to be a referendum.

“That could take place, I’m sure, before the end of next year.”