Nicola Sturgeon has said her government is considering how to respond to a ruling from the Information Commissioner demanding she publishes legal advice on a second independence referendum. 

Last week Daren Fitzhenry said the government was wrong to have knocked back a Freedom of Information request from The Scotsman asking for the release of the advice. 

He said keeping the legal advice secret would actively harm accountability and scrutiny. Ministers have until June 10 to appeal his decision. 

The First Minister was asked about the legal advice during a round of interviews on Monday morning. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the First Minister said: "I wouldn't want to go ahead with a referendum that wasn't legal.

"I couldn't go ahead with a referendum that wasn't legal because we have a system of checks and balances in this country, Scotland and the UK, that would ultimately lead to the Supreme Court stepping in or considering a case if that was the case.

"The only referendum worth its salt is one that is democratic, legal and can deliver."

The First Minister later told BBC Radio Scotland that she couldn’t reveal what the lawyers had told her government as the Ministerial Code contains provisions to prevent “ministers like me discussing the content of legal advice”.

She said: “If I was to do that today you would no doubt have me on tomorrow accusing me, in very legitimate journalistic terms I hasten to add, of breaching the ministerial code, so I’m not going to go into that.”

She explained that was because of the “long standing convention, not just in Scotland, but across the UK and probably most other countries in the world, that routinely governments don’t publish legal advice, because we put a lot of value on the ability to get free and frank legal advice”.

The First Minister added: “So if we are to depart from that convention – it’s quite a significant thing, it goes against precedent and we want to consider that carefully.”

Ms Sturgeon, meanwhile, was adamant that Scottish voters would back independence in any new referendum. 

She told BBC Breakfast the SNP leader said: “I’m convinced that when people get that choice again they will vote for Scotland to be independent.

“Most of the promises that were made to Scotland at the last referendum by those who argued against independence – not least that we’d continue to be in the European Union – have been broken.”

Her comments came despite support for independence slipping. 

The last poll to ask the question, carried out in March by BMG for The Herald, found 53 per cent supporting Scotland remaining in the UK, and 47 backing independence. 

The First Minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think when we come to make the choice and independence again, I'm convinced people will vote yes. 

“But you know, if I cast my mind back to a few years before the 2014 referendum, you wouldn't even have had that level of support for yes. 

“There is definitely strong support for Scotland to become an independent country, but I don't take that for granted. People who want that, like me, have got to make the case and we've got to make the case that is relevant in the world people live in but that's an argument and a debate that I absolutely relish.”

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Donald Cameron MSP said: “The information commissioner has said clearly that the Scottish Government ought to publish the legal advice they have received on holding another divisive independence referendum.

“But instead of accepting they were wrong to attempt to withhold this in the first place, Nicola Sturgeon is continuing to explore every avenue to prevent this coming out to avoid scrutiny.

“The First Minister is forever claiming that her government is open and transparent while behaving in a way totally at odds with that laughable assertion.”

He also said that “the public has a right to know what legal justification there is for a team of senior civil servants being seconded to work on a referendum that the majority of Scots don’t want”.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s bad enough that the First Minister continues to obsess about the constitution, when she ought to be focused on the cost-of-living crisis, but her refusal to be up front about her plans is even more unacceptable.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton was also critical of Ms Sturgeon, saying that “based on past form, I half expected the First Minister to say that all the relevant documents had mysteriously vanished”.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “The information commissioner was clear that the Government needed to publish.

“I think the public would be appalled if the Government were wasting taxpayers’ money pressing ahead with their plans if there was legal advice suggesting they didn’t have a leg to stand on.”