Scottish MPs have tried to hold Alister Jack to account for his remarks about a second independence referendum.

During the monthly Scottish Questions session this morning, SNP MPs quizzed the Secretary of State for Scotland over the timings of another poll.

It comes after he stated it could be up to 40 years until another vote was granted by Westminster - a statement the MP has now rowed back on.

Mr Jack said that Scotland should not be subjected to constant "neverendums" and told the SNP they should "frankly accept" that a another vote is not likely within the next quarter of century.

It came in response to Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP MP for Central Ayrshire, who compared Scotland to a wife trapped in marriage.

She said: "I hope the Secretary of State isn’t suggesting there won’t be another one (independence referendum) for 40 years.

“He seems to think the way to strengthen the Union is by forcing a hard Brexit on Scotland against our will, taking an axe to devolution with the Internal Market Bill and denying any democratic choice on Scotland’s future until adults like me are dead.

“On that basis, does he think the best recipe for a happy marriage is to lock up the wife, take away her chequebook and just keep refusing a divorce?”

Mr Jack responded: “I think it’s quite straightforward – I think people should respect democracy...

“We are respecting democracy, we are saying we are acknowledging once in a generation, we don’t believe Scotland should be thrown (into) the uncertainty of ‘neverendums’, and it’s very straightforward.

“A generation, by any calculation, is 25 years and frankly, you just have to accept that and focus on what matters, which is recovering from this pandemic and us all pulling together.”

Mhairi Black, the SNP's shadow secretary of state, asked Mr Jack to point out where "it says in [the Edinburgh] agreement that there cannot be another referendum".

Mr Jack responded: “Well I commend (Ms Black) for trying to get a referendum into questions about the job retention scheme and actually, you know, while we’re all fighting this pandemic and trying to secure and support people’s jobs, it beggars belief that the SNP carry on talking about independence referendums and about separation.

“I find it really quite disappointing, but the answer to her question, it was mentioned many times in the White Paper that the SNP Government produced in advance of that referendum, once in a generation was mentioned on a number of pages.”

SNP MPs criticised Mr jack on social media after he appeared to come to the session ill-prepared to answer a question tabled by a Conservative MP.

MP John Howell had scheduled a question about what discussions Mr Jack has had with Rishi Sunak on "the economic support available for Scottish businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak."

However when called to answer the question, the Secretary of State appeared confused and eventually apologised, saying he "didn't bring that one" with him.

MPs could be heard laughing and sniggering in the Chamber.

Hannah Bardell, SNP MP for Livingston tweeted her frustration at the incident, saying: "The Sec of State for Scotland just stood up and said he didn’t bring an answer to question 16 and sat back down... queue much hilarity and confusion.

"Tories cannae even do the basics... #disrespect #dogatemyhomework."

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth, said that the UK Government's consistent denial of a second referendum was only pushing the support for independence higher.

More than a dozen consecutive polls have now shown that a majority of Scots want Scotland to be an independent country.