NICOLA Sturgeon has refused to rule out taking legal action if Boris Johnson is returned to Downing Street and blocks a second Scottish independence vote.

The First Minister and SNP leader made it clear she would not hold a Catalan-style unauthorised ballot on leaving the UK.

But with Johnson having repeatedly stated he will not permit a second ballot on independence while he is prime minister, she was pressed on what her options would be during a television interview.

Sturgeon stressed a majority Tory government was “not inevitable” after the December 12 General Election and said whoever ends up in Number 10 must “respect the will of the Scottish people”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the First Minister said: “I do believe whoever is in Downing Street, they have a duty to respect the will of the Scottish people.”

If Johnson remains as PM and continues to refuse to grant permission for a fresh vote on independence, she pledged she would “set out how I intend to cross that bridge then”.

Pressed on whether the Scottish Government would mount a legal challenge if Westminster continued to refuse to allow a referendum, or would stage an unofficial ballot, Sturgeon said the vote would have to be “legitimate”.

She said: “I think a referendum has to be legal and accepted because I’m not in the business of just having a referendum, I want Scotland to become independent so you have to have a process of doing that that is going to be recognised as legitimate.

“Beyond that though I will consider all options.”

Sturgeon’s comments came as Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he would expect other parties including the SNP to back them in Westminster in a bid to lock out the Tories – without any electoral pacts.

He insisted there would be no coalition between the two parties in the case of a hung Parliament following an accusation levelled by the Prime Minister during a debate with Jeremy Corbyn last week.

Leonard said the SNP would “have to explain themselves to the people of Scotland” if they did not support a prospective Labour Government.

The SNP have said the Labour Party should not “bother picking up the phone” if they do not agree to another Scottish independence referendum.

Leonard said his party was standing on a “transformative” manifesto, which would have an effect for generations and other parties should not make bids to change that.

He suggested that there could be a “swing” of undecided voters to his party in a bid to block the Tories.