AN SNP MP has called for the “pause button” to be pressed on the timetable for a second indyref until a clearer picture emerges from the Brexit negotiations, which might result in more powers for the Scottish Government, including a Scottish policy on immigration.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard said he supported the SNP’s stance on a material change of circumstances being the trigger for a new indyref, but he repeated the party’s manifesto commitment to seek a softer Brexit than was envisaged before the General Election.

He told The National: “We were absolutely right to do things as we did in March because of the rejection by the British Government of the Scottish Government’s framework document, and it was pretty clear that whatever the outcome was, it was going to be such a dramatic change in circumstances that we had to go ahead with a second independence referendum no matter what.

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“What I’m saying now, because the General Election has changed that, is that we should wait to see what Brexit looks like before deciding whether or not to have an indyref, but it still remains an option.

“I’m saying press the pause on the timetable until we see where we’re at.”

Sheppard added: “If the British Government maintains its belligerent position and refuses any differentiated arrangements, refuses to listen to the Scottish Government, then we should go ahead with indyref.

“Then, the General Election changes nothing.

“I think there’s a prospect that it might lead to a Brexit that is a lot softer than what we were heading for and that allows more powers for the Scottish Government and things like the possibility of regional immigration policy – all of that’s now on the agenda in a way that it wasn’t before.”

Sheppard dismissed claims that there had been a widespread switch from the SNP to the Tories in the General Election.

“Perhaps in areas where it’s overlaid with Brexit, like in the north east, there was a switch from SNP to Tory but in my seat and all the others in the central belt that’s not the story at all,” he said.

“Here, there was a switch from Labour to Tory which was masked by a much bigger switch from SNP to Labour, not because of the indep- endence message, but because of the Corbyn effect.

“That gives Scottish Labour leadership something of a dilemma because they now have a more pro-indy support than they’ve ever had and have won seats on the basis of a leader that they detest.”

Sheppard’s remarks came as Scottish Secretary David Mundell said he foresees “no circumstances” for a second referendum before the 2021 Holyrood elections Mundell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland: “The people of Scotland sent Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP a very, very clear message in the General Election, with the cataclysmic performance of the SNP compared to the 2015 General Election.

“They want that threat of an independence referendum taken off the table. I don’t see any circum- stances in which there is going to be an independence referendum before the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney told the programme: “Our proposal always was that we should have this referendum, if we have it, at the end of the Brexit process. We’ll consider those proposals and we will consider them in the light of the election campaign.”

Swinney said the conclusion of the Brexit process would be at the end of March 2019, two years after the triggering of Article 50. “The Prime Minister has told us the finish is two years away from the triggering of Article 50,” he said. “That’s been the clear commitment given by the UK Government and we set our proposals on the basis of that commitment.”

Former SNP political adviser Alex Bell, meanwhile, said the party should “shut up about indyref2”, adding: “The UK is in genuine crisis and there’s no loss of face in letting that settle until some undetermined date.”

He wrote in a Tory Sunday newspaper: “Sturgeon should do the right thing by the nation and commit to real improvement in health and education, knowing the benefits may not be evident until after the 2020 election, and do the right thing by independence by explaining why short-to-mid-term risk is worth taking for long-term gain.

“Until that time, shut up about indyref2 … and shut up about Brexit – play a part in softening it, but stop making it seem like the business of Holyrood to fix.”

The latest interventions came after former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said the SNP should “abandon” its current push for indyref2 as “neither the mood is there for it, nor the support in existence to win it”.

MacAskill said the campaign should be sidelined following the party’s performance in the General Election, which he said cannot be “ignored or explained away simply as Unionist tactical voting”.

Scottish Labour’s election campaign manager James Kelly said calls for Sturgeon to ditch plans for a second referendum are now “deafening”.

He said: “The uncomfortable truth for the SNP leader is that Scots don’t want another referendum – they want her to get on with the job of fixing the mess she has made of our schools and hospitals. Now even senior figures in her own party seem to agree.”

“If Nicola Sturgeon still won’t listen to the public, she should listen to her own advisers and ditch her plans for a divisive second independence referendum immediately.”