THREE of the SNP’s most senior MPs have described this week as among the “most momentous” in the debate on Scotland’s future and one which will be regarded as a milestone on the journey to independence.

Pete Wishart, the party’s leader in the House of Commons, and Tommy Sheppard, the Edinburgh East MP, said there was huge strength of feeling among Scots over the power grab and the way the UK Government had handled the Brexit Bill in the Commons.

And, writing in The National today, Scotland’s youngest MP Mhairi Black said this was the week Scots “saw the mask of Westminster slip to reveal the patronising, arrogant and dangerous face that has always lurked beneath”.

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Just 15 minutes were set aside to debate the impact of the legislation on Holyrood on Tuesday, with no Scottish MP allowed to speak on its controversial Clause 15.

These concerns were taken up by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford the following day at Prime Minister’s Questions, leading to him being thrown out of the chamber and his MPs walking out in solidarity.

Then, Murray Foote, the architect of the Vow, which promised more powers for Holyrood in the run up to the 2014 referendum, announced he was now supporting independence.

Wishart, who has previously cautioned against rushing into a new referendum, said “an early look” at a new vote could now be possible amid the shifting of “the tectonic plates” on the constitutional question.

He said: “This has been one of the most momentous weeks we’ve had in the debate around the constitutional question for a while. You can almost feel the tectonic plates shifting.

“The things that have happened, from the disrespect shown to the Scottish Parliament, the number of people who say they are now supporting independence, it certainly shows this is a movement that is on the march again.

“We are going to see more weeks like this. If we were to do this again for the next few weeks we would be in an ideal place to have an early look at independence and see what our prospects are for a referendum.”

The SNP walk-out, criticised by opposition MPs as a “stunt”, saw 7526 members join in just 48 hours.

Labour and SNP MPs have called for Scotland Secretary David Mundell to resign over his handling of dispute.

Mundell has blamed the Scottish Government for the lack of a deal being reached with the UK on the EU Withdrawal Bill, though all parties at Holyrood except the Tories voted against granting it consent.

Black joined Wishart in stressing the need for Scotland to re-examine its position in light of recent events.

In her column, Black said: “We were told that Scotland was a respected member of our ‘nation of equals’, and we were encouraged to vote against our independence.

“Fast forward four years and it is clear that every promise made to Scotland by Westminster was a lie.

“The reality is that so long as Scotland is ruled by Westminster, we are powerless to protect the very institutions we hold dearest – our welfare state, our industries, our pensions.

“This week in Parliament proved that beyond any doubt.”

Sheppard told The National that Scots would look back at this as a tipping point, and a significant milestone on the path to independence.

He said: “What we’ve got to tell people is it is in the nature of things in the future that they are uncertain but you are better to go forward on the basis that you are in control of your own destiny rather than if someone else is. And I think that is now beginning to percolate through to people.”

Sheppard said SNP won’t be able to set a clear plan until after the vote in Westminster in October or November on the EU-UK deal, but that the current period of “frustration” would pass.

“We’ll keep the heid, the dust is beginning to settle, but we’re still not in a position to fire the starting gun.

“As the First Minister says we really need to move through the gears in persuading people why we need independence.

“We have to make the case, as well as talk about the timetable.”

mhairi black: page 13