Glasgow, Scotland. The First Minister’s nationalist dreams suffered a massive setback at the polls as Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories made big advances in the council elections.They gained 164 councillors in a result that signalled a growing backlash against Ms Sturgeon’s demands for a second referendum.

It also shows the prospect of a second independence referendum will be the biggest influence on 47 per cent of the electorate when it comes to casting their vote during a snap general election on 8 June.

Discussing the election results, Ms Sturgeon fumed when asked whether the outcome had put a dent in her independence hopes,she blasted: “That is utter nonsense! The SNP won a council election yesterday, and we won it comfortably when the Tories had put an independence referendum on the ballot paper.

Ms Davidson declared the “fightback” against the Scottish National Party had begun, raising expectations she could snatch a string of seats in next month’s general election.

Theresa May has been clear that ‘now is not the time’ for another ballot on Scotland’s place in the UK despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for the issue to be put to the people again following Brexit.

“They made it about that, not the SNP – and we won, so in any way of cutting an election result that says the SNP was endorsed rather than the Tories.

“In terms of the strengthening of Theresa May, certainly if you look at the results in England, Theresa May is on course for a landslide victory – that raises a really important question for Scotland over the next few weeks.

“Do we want to have strong voices standing up for Scotland? If we do that can only come from the SNP.” Ms Davidson’s Scottish Tories more than doubled their vote from the 2012 contest and overtook Labour in their best result since local authority boundaries were redrawn in 1974.

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