THE SNP will heap pressure on Boris Johnson to agree to a second independence referendum when they challenge him during a major debate marking the start of a new parliamentary session in the House of Commons today.

Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader, will demand that the Prime Minister must “respect the will of the Scottish people” after the SNP’s landslide victory at the Holyrood election.

He will do so in his response to the Prime Minister’s statement on the Queen’s Speech when the monarch sets out the Government’s legislative plans for the year ahead.

The SNP stood on a manifesto committed to holding indyref2 in the next parliamentary term and won the election taking 64 MSPs, more than double the number of its nearest rival, the Scottish Conservatives.

The Tories netted 31 MSPs – the same as in 2016 – a result which allowed them to return as the main opposition party in Holyrood. The SNP also won a record number of votes, a record share of the vote, and the biggest share of constituency seats of any party in UK history at 85%.

READ MORE: Tory MSP Murdo Fraser panned for 'nonsense' attempts to deny SNP election win

While they fell one MSP short of the 65 to achieve an overall single party majority, along with the Scottish Greens, which got a record eight MSPs, Holyrood will have its biggest ever parliamentary majority in favour of a referendum and independence since devolution.

However, despite the result of the election, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said that the Prime Minister would reject any request from SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for an agreed referendum.

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech today, Blackford said Scotland and England were “on different political paths” in reference to the SNP’s victory and commitment to re-join the EU and Johnson’s success in the local elections in England based on his pursuit of a hard-line Brexit.

The National:

“Boris Johnson must respect the will of the Scottish people – who voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the SNP with a cast-iron mandate for a post-pandemic independence referendum. Last week’s election results in both countries show England and Scotland are on different political paths. We have two governments and parliaments with different priorities,” he said.

“When it comes to recovery, Scotland voted for a Parliament that will back transformative policies to create a fairer society but instead the Tories are repeating the same damaging mistakes of the last economic crisis, by imposing austerity cuts, a hard Brexit, a public sector pay freeze and slashing Universal Credit – pushing millions of people into poverty.

“People in Scotland roundly rejected the Tories and voted for a strong, fair, and equal recovery – instead of the long-term damage of Tory cuts, Brexit and power grabs.”

He added: “If we are to deliver an investment-led recovery and the long-term fundamental changes needed to tackle inequality and build a fairer society, Scotland needs the full powers of an independent country.

“Once this crisis is over there will be a referendum, so that Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s. The Tories must not stand in the way of democracy.”

The Queen’s Speech marks the beginning of the second session of the parliament elected in 2019.

READ MORE: Ruth Davidson put on top firm's board just days after leaving MSP position

It is part of the State Opening of Parliament, the formal beginning of each new session of parliament. No substantive parliamentary business in either the House of Commons or House of Lords can usually occur until after the speech is delivered.

Due to Covid restrictions, some ceremonial aspects will be different – for example, there will be fewer people present.

Procedurally, the “Speech from the Throne” allows Parliament to begin a new session and start its business. It is also symbolic of the Queen’s role in the constitution.

The speech is written by the Government and delivered by the monarch in a neutral tone, so as not to convey any sense of her views. MPs vote on the speech following a debate which begins after it is delivered and usually continues for several days.

Reports have suggested it will contain more than 25 bills, including a number from the previous parliamentary session including an Environment Bill on post-Brexit rules for protecting nature.

The return of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is expected after being shelved in the last parliamentary session as demonstrations took place over concerns it would curtail the right to protest.

Controversial legislation to overhaul the asylum system will also be set out.

This has already been sharply criticised by United Nation's refugee agency, which warned the proposals risk breaching international legal commitments and triggering damaging effects on asylum-seekers who arrive irregularly.

"We recognise the need to improve some asylum procedures, but these plans threaten to create a discriminatory two-tier asylum system, undermining the 1951 Refugee Convention and longstanding global cooperation on refugee issues. It's not too late for a rethink," UNHCR representative Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor said.

The State Opening of Parliament will be the Queen's first major public ceremonial duty since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh last month.

Its usual pomp and ceremony will be scaled back drastically to reduce the potential for spread of Covid-19, and all attendees will need to have a negative test beforehand.

The Times reports the speech will also address the long-awaited ban on conversion therapy, with a consultation to determine the scope of the ban to be held before the legislation is introduced.