BORIS Johnson has insisted that a second vote on Scotland’s future should not happen until after 2050, suggesting 40 years or so after the 2014 poll was the “right sort of gap” to have another referendum on Scottish independence.

The Prime Minister’s comments came as a large constituency by constituency poll, carried out over four weeks last month, suggested the SNP was on course for another landslide victory at the 2024 General Election even larger than the one it achieved in 2015 when it won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats.

The Focaldata survey of more than 22,000 people also pointed to the Conservatives losing their 80-seat Commons majority with Labour picking up 82 additional constituencies and Westminster looking at a hung parliament in three years’ time.

Justin Ibbert, the polling company’s founder, claimed the numbers suggested the “most likely outcome is a Labour-SNP coalition government, which would have an overall majority of just over 20 seats”.

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However, it is unlikely Sir Keir Starmer would contemplate such a move; a confidence and supply arrangement would be more likely but Nicola Sturgeon’s price would doubtless be Westminster facilitating indyref2.

Among the predicted casualties in 2024 would be Mr Johnson himself, losing his seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in north London, where he has a 5,034 majority, as well as Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, whose seat of Dumfries and Galloway, would be picked up by the SNP, overturning his 1,805 majority.

With opinion polls pointing to a possible Nationalist majority at the Holyrood election in May, it is expected that if such a scenario panned out, Mr Johnson would come under massive pressure to relent and agree to another vote on Scottish independence.

When it was suggested to him by the BBC’s Andrew Marr that things had changed since the referendum in 2014, ie Brexit and Covid-19, the PM shook his head, saying: “Referendums in my experience in this country are not particularly jolly events, they don’t have a notably unifying force in the national mood, they should be only once in generation; I think that’s what our friends in Scotland[said].”

He then noted: “We had a referendum in 1975 and we didn’t have another one until 2016, that seems to be the right sort of gap. How about that?”

A 41-year gap between polls on independence would take Scotland to 2055.

Keith Brown, the SNP’s depute leader, responding to Mr Johnson’s remarks, said: “It may be a new year but it’s the same old incoherent bluster from Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister pretends otherwise but he knows he can’t keep on denying democracy.

“Even his American pal Donald Trump has learned that if you try to stand in the way of the democratic choice of a nation you get swept away. The people who will decide our future are the people of Scotland, not Boris Johnson and the Westminster Tories,” he added.

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens co-leader, insisted only the people of Scotland had the right to determine Scotland’s future.

“Seventeen consecutive opinion polls have demonstrated majorities in favour of independence with the most recent indicating a record 58% support.

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“Whether it’s the botched handling of the coronavirus crisis, the Brexit catastrophe or just the heartlessness of Tory governments we haven’t voted for, it’s clear that the UK isn’t working for Scotland.”

She added: “Scottish Greens will go into May’s election with a clear commitment to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, and the people of Scotland will have their say.”

But Pamela Nash, Chief Executive of Scotland in Union, stressed: “After years of division, there is an opportunity for unity. And yet the SNP is still so obsessed with the constitution that it wants to divide Scotland once again.

“No serious politician should even contemplate holding a divisive second independence referendum any time soon. By working with our largest trade market and closest neighbours to build a successful future in the UK, we are stronger together,” added the former Labour MP.

Since last June 17 consecutive polls have placed the pro-independence cause ahead; the last one in December had it 14 points in front. The Yes leads in the last seven months have ranged from one per cent to 16%. The don’t-knows have been as high as 13%.

The Focaldata survey used the Multilevel Regression and Post-stratification method, which is said to be more accurate than conventional polling as it uses data from the previous seven days to estimate the probability of a person voting for a particular party through specific demographics and past voting behaviour.

The research suggested the Tories would lose 81 seats, putting them on 284, while Labour would pick up 82, putting it on 282. Many of the seats Mr Starmer’s party would pick up would be the “red wall” seats in northern England, which they lost to the Conservatives in 2019.

The SNP would pick up 57 of Scotland’s 59 seats, one better than their landslide win in 2015.

The survey also pointed to a collapse for the Liberal Democrats, losing all but two – Kingston, leader Sir Ed Davey’s seat and Bath – from the 11 they currently have. Under this snapshot, the party would lose all four of its Scottish seats. The research suggested a quarter of those who voted Lib Dem in 2019 would switch to Labour.

The numbers are unlikely to lighten the mood in Conservative ranks, where there has been some concern about the performance of the PM through the pandemic.

Mr Ibbett, whose company carried out a similar poll for the Tories prior to the 2019 election, said: “One year on from their stunning General Election triumph, it is clear the Conservatives already have a lot of work to do if they are to replicate their 2019 success in future elections.”