Tory MSP Jamie Greene has called on the SNP’s Ruth Maguire to oppose the use of public funds to support another independence campaign.

However the Irvine-based Cunninghame South MSP accused her rivals of wasting even more public cash on recent by-elections.

This comes after it was revealed that the SNP spent more than £22,000 of taxpayers’ money on a public consultation for a second independence referendum.

MSP Jamie Greene, said: “This is an extremely embarrassing episode for the SNP, after they spent tens of thousands of pounds on a consultation for a question that was already clearly decided in a fair and legally binding referendum, they were forced to reset their plans after losing 21 MPs and half a million votes at the General Election.

“Ruth Maguire should immediately commit to opposing any further public funds being spent on independence.”

Ruth Maguire responded: “The SNP was elected on a manifesto that explicitly reserved the right to hold another referendum, ‘If there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will’.

“The costs of this consultation, which was undertaken as part of fulfilling that manifesto commitment, were comparable with others of a similar size.

“This in stark contrast to the shocking waste of money caused by a series of by-elections, at £25,000 each, after newly elected Tory councillors declined to take up their seats in North Lanarkshire and Moray.

“The cost of these byelections were more than double that of the Scottish Government consultation”