It would be "wrong" if the UK Parliament withheld permission for a second referendum on Scotland's independence, according to the Church of Scotland.

In a statement issued after Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention earlier this week to ask for a second referendum in the light of last year's Brexit decision, Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said that with a majority of Scottish MPs in favour of independence "it is likely" a vote in favour of another referendum on independence will be passed in the Scottish Parliament.

"The UK Parliament will have the final say on whether to grant the right to hold an Independence Referendum," he said. "It would be wrong if it was withheld."

Rev Dr Frazer said the Church of Scotland "retains a position of active neutrality on the matter of Scottish independence", the same position it held during the 2014 referendum, but added that the church is also in favour of continued membership of the European Union, a position it's held since 1996.

He said that while there are risks the debate over independence "could be bitter, divisive and divert attention away from the hugely complex negotiations which are taking place as the UK prepares to leave the EU", "there is nothing inevitable about this debate being divisive and acrimonious".

"All those who take part in this debate about Scotland’s future – and the UK’s future as well – must be committed to holding a positive and informative debate," he said. He added that as well as contributing to the debate in "creative and inclusive ways", the Church of Scotland "will also seek to call to account those who exaggerate their claims or who move from committed debate to inappropriate ways of treating one another".

“On all sides people hold their convictions with honesty and integrity and they must be treated as such. As we continue to grapple with these complex, contested and important decisions it is important that we do so with as much grace as we can muster and in a way that recognises the humanity of all concerned. All those who take part in this debate about Scotland’s future – and the UK’s future as well – must be committed to holding a debate which informs and inspires and not one which derides and dismisses.”

Ms Sturgeon called for a second referendum on Scottish independence on Monday morning, saying the vote must occur before Britain leaves the EU. Her call was later endorsed by the Scottish Government Cabinet. The announcement brought a sharp response from UK Prime Minister Theresa May who accused Ms Sturgeon of "tunnel vision".

In 2014, 55.3 per cent of people voted against Scottish independence in a referendum on the issue.