Scottish Tory leader calls on Nicola Sturgeon to rule out second referendum
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called on Nicola Sturgeon to rule out another independence referendum after the Tories finished second in the Holyrood election.
Ms Davidson said the SNP leader now had "no mandate, no majority and no cause" to hold another vote on the issue.
The Tories won 31 seats - 32 behind the SNP, while Labour won 24, the Scottish Greens six and the Lib Dems five.
Ms Sturgeon has said she expects a referendum while she is first minister.
During the election campaign when asked whether an independence vote would be held during her premiership, she replied: "More likely than not."
But speaking at a news conference in Edinburgh, Ms Davidson said: "There has been a material change.
"As she starts her new term of office, I hope Nicola Sturgeon makes it clear that she will now focus entirely on what she was elected to do - lead a devolved administration."
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The Scottish Tory leader, who won the Edinburgh Central seat, added: "She should give families and firms the certainty they need. Nicola Sturgeon has it within her power to do that.
"I urge her to start this new parliament by ruling out another referendum."
Prime Minister David Cameron earlier congratulated Ms Davidson on the "historic result", saying she would "stand up to the SNP and give Scotland strong opposition".
Among the party's major gains was deputy leader Jackson Carlaw taking the Eastwood constituency on the outskirts of Glasgow from Labour's Ken Macintosh.
The SNP's Dennis Robertson lost his Aberdeenshire West seat to the Conservatives while Oliver Mundell - son of the Scottish Secretary David Mundell - captured the Dumfriesshire constituency from Labour.
The Tories' previous best result at Holyrood was 18 MSPs, a total the party achieved in both 1999 and 2003.
'Good for democracy'
Ms Davidson congratulated Ms Sturgeon on the SNP victory but said the lack of a majority government was "very welcome and good for our democracy".
She said: "Majority government has not worked well. Too often over the last five years the SNP pushed through its agenda not on the strength of its case, but simply on strength of numbers.
"As a minority administration, I believe the SNP will be forced to listen, to learn and to improve.
"I am very very proud that our performance last night has helped to bring this about."