THE former chairman of Yes Scotland has made an appeal for the fight for Scottish independence to be renewed as he launched a scathing attack on the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour party leaders.

Dennis Canavan said the demand for self-determination had not diminished and forecast “a famous victory” once the message was put across amid the Brexit fallout.

He is one of a series of leading figures whose arguments examining a fresh case for independence and for a second plebiscite will be set out tomorrow in a special edition of The National looking at the way forward following last week’s General Election.

“If Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale really think that last week’s General Election result has killed off the demand for independence or the demand for indyref2, they must be on a different planet,” he says.

“The demand for independence has not gone away and the demand to let the people decide by means of another referendum will not go away....For many people, the full implications of Brexit have not yet sunk in.

“If it looks like we’re heading for a hard Brexit with detrimental effects on the economy, employment and freedom of movement, then that will increase the demand for indyref2 to enable an independent Scotland to negotiate its own relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.”

The debate follows the loss at last week’s election of 21 of the SNP’s 56 seats the party got in the 2015 landslide. Twelve of these seats went to the Conservatives, six to Labour and three to the LibDems, added to the single seats the parties took two years ago.

All three parties had stood on a platform opposed to a second independence referendum regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and have since demanded that Nicola Sturgeon takes the vote off the table.

Dugdale said Labour would never consent to a second referendum, whereas Davidson suggested Scots should not have one for 35 years.

The election result was a humiliation for the Prime Minister.

Theresa May called the election in April, confident of increasing her majority of 12 but amid unexpected support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, she lost her majority and is not seeking a deal with the hardline DUP to prop up her government.

“The chaos at Westminster raises questions not just about the stability of the UK Government but also about the stability of the UK itself,” Canavan added.

“Whatever the future holds, campaigners for independence must not simply sit back and wait for things to happen. We must immediately work harder than ever to win more hearts and minds for the cause of independence so that, when the starting gun is fired for indyref2, we are ready and raring to go.

“During the General Election campaign we were repeatedly told that politicians should concentrate on bread and butter issues rather than constitutional issues but constitutional change can help to deliver the bread and butter.

Independence is not an end in itself. It is a means towards building a fairer Scotland and a Scotland which will play its full part in the international community to help build a better world. When we succeed in getting that message across, we will win a famous victory.”

Recent polls suggest that around 45 per cent of voters are in favour of independence – the same number as backed the Yes case in the 2014 referendum.

However, following the EU referendum last year many voters began reconsidering their views with some switching from No to Yes, and others from Yes to No.

Many in the SNP have expressed criticisms to The National at how the SNP ran its campaign. Criticisms have included a lack of a clear compelling message, a failure to get activists enthused and a lack in sufficiently countering the Unionist arguments against a second vote.

Yesterday a poll for the Labour supporting Daily Record said 60 per cent of voters believed the SNP should drop plans for a second independence referendum.

Last night a Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Dennis Canavan is welcome to his views. Scottish Labour is focused on improving Scotland’s public services, better pay for working people and fighting poverty.”

Referring to the poll, Davidson said: “The decisive majority of people in Scotland have no wish for a second independence referendum, and that includes many who voted Yes.”