IMMIGRATION is an “issue for the whole of the UK,” Theresa May has insisted as she said that this meant the country north and south of the border needed a “same policy approach”.

The Prime Minister's view is contrary to that of the SNP Government, which wants immigration to be devolved to Holyrood.

She was responding to research, carried out by Sir John Curtice for the National Centre for Social Research, which suggested most Scots did not want the country to remain in the European single market and supported restricting immigration from the EU.

The survey showed 59 per cent of voters in Scotland thought, post Brexit, that potential EU migrants to the UK should have to apply to come here compared to 64 per cent of voters across Britain as a whole.

“Contrary to the presumption of the Scottish Government, most voters in Scotland are not keen to see Scotland remain in the single market and thus continue freedom of movement, should the rest of the UK leave it,” the study said.

“Only if the UK is faced with a choice between ending freedom of movement and maintaining free trade will voters in Scotland be inclined to give a somewhat different answer from their counterparts south of the border,” it added.

The snapshot also noted how Scottish voters believed powers on immigration and trade should remain UK-wide and controlled by Whitehall – 63 and 67 per cent respectively.

While powers over fishing and farming should be under the control of the Scottish Government – 62 and 59 per cent respectively.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Colin Clark, the Conservative MP for Gordon, asked if Mrs May welcomed the survey’s findings, which, he said, showed the “majority of Scots believe that the rules on trade and immigration should be the same in Scotland as in the rest of the UK”. He added: “It looks like they agree that we are better together.”

The PM replied that people right across the UK wanted to see immigration controlled.

She explained: “As we leave the European Union, we will be able to introduce our own immigration rules and to control that immigration to Britain from Europe. The only point of differentiation is that, of course, we do have a Scotland-only shortage occupation list to recognise the particular labour market needs in Scotland.

“For the most part, that actually matches the UK-wide shortage occupation list, which shows that this is an issue for the whole of the UK and that we need the same policy approach.”

Afterwards, Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, was asked if the survey showed his party was out of synch in its support for the single market and free movement from majority opinion in Scotland.

He replied by saying that this was a “misreading” of the research and that the question on immigration was “very loaded”. The Highland MP said the people of Scotland recognised the attractions of the free movement of people and that “that has to be maintained given the demographic challenges we face”.

Stressing how Scotland had been enriched by migration, Mr Blackford added: “All the polling evidence which has been done previously would suggest there is support for the free movement of people in Scotland.”