BORIS Johnson has continued to dismiss the prospect of a second referendum, despite the likelihood that a pro-independence majority of MSPs are to be elected to the Scottish Parliament.

The Prime Minister, speaking after only a handful of Scottish election results had been announced yesterday, said that in the “current context” another vote on the constitution would be “irresponsible and reckless”.

The comments are nothing new, with Mr Johnson making the same remarks prior to polling day.

However commentators had predicted there could be a subtle shift depending on the results of the Holyrood vote.

Speaking to the Telegraph yesterday, Mr Johnson also suggested that the SNP had “moved away” from a push for another vote.

He said: “I listened to the Scottish election carefully. My impression was that they [the SNP] moved away from the idea of a referendum and I think very wisely…Because I don’t think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together.

"That’s what people want.”

The SNP’s hopes of getting a Holyrood majority in their own right are now severely in doubt, however it is accepted that the party, along with the Greens, will make up more than half of the new intake of MSPs.

Despite this, Mr Johnson said a referendum would be unwise, adding: “I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless.”

Asked about claims that he has said privately he would never agree to another referendum, the Prime Minister repeated his comments: “I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless. Let me leave it at that.”

Mr Johnson was also asked about what he would do if the SNP attempted to hold a referendum without permission from Westminster.

Ms Sturgeon has said categorically she would not move to have a “wildcat” referendum however Alex Salmond’s Alba party had suggested it could be one way to push for separation.

Mr Johnson said: “Well, as I say, I think that there’s no case now for such a thing … I don’t think it’s what the times call for at all.”

George Eustice, the Westminster Environment secretary, made similar remarks during the morning broadcast round today.

Mr Eustice said a referendum is a "complete distraction" and added: "It would be irresponsible to have another divisive referendum and another bout of constitutional debate at a time when we are charting our way out of this pandemic and when we’ve got to really focus on economic recovery.

“We think it’s completely the wrong thing to be doing.

“We had a referendum just a little over five years ago and that settled the issue." 

Asked about potential court action over another constitutional vote, the minister said: "Look, I’m not a lawyer – lawyers will look at these things and I think it is getting ahead of ourselves.

“There is a question at the moment over whether the SNP will get a majority or not – we’ll have to wait and see until the results come through."