THE SNP’s new depute leader has said events over the past few weeks in Scottish and UK politics have “truly reignited the debate about independence in Scotland”.

Keith Brown pointed to the publication of a new economic blueprint for independence, the setting aside of just 15 minutes at Westminster to discuss the impact of the Brexit Bill on devolution and the architect of the Vow Murray Foote’s switch to back a Yes vote.

The Economy Secretary was unveiled as Nicola Sturgeon’s number two at the SNP conference earlier this month after a contest which began when Angus Robertson stepped down from the post in March.

“The past few weeks have truly reignited the debate about independence in Scotland,” he told The National. “The publication of the Sustainable Growth Commission report shifted focus away from the chaos and despair of Brexit, and on to a positive discussion about how we can grow our economy, end austerity, deliver greater prosperity, and build a fairer society as an independent country.

“SNP conference saw a raft of new progressive policy announcements – from increasing NHS pay, the carers allowance, and student support, to building and refurbishing 750 nurseries, and investing even more in affordable housing. It reminded us of the strong record of the SNP Government – but also the huge potential that the powers of independence would give us to go even further.

He added: “The Tory Government’s power grab attack on devolution, and the blatant disregard for Scotland at Westminster, has been a tipping point for many. It has made people realise that Scotland’s interests, and the democratic will of the Scottish people, will always be sidelined as long as Scotland remains under Westminster rule.”

The Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP said the “arrogance and intransigence of the UK Govern- ment” over the EU Withdrawal Bill, which Holyrood refused to give its consent to, sparked a huge boost in SNP membership as more than 7000 people joined the party last week.

“We’ve seen support and momentum for independence growing across Scottish society. The fact that Murray Foote the respected former editor of the Daily Record, and creator of the Vow, has publicly come out for independence was a signal that the tectonic plates are shifting,” he added. “As the impetus for change grows, the SNP, and the wider Yes movement, must reach out to our communities and former No voters, and make the strong and positive case for independence.”

While polls suggest support for independence remains around 45%, other research reveals voters attitudes are changing in terms of the constitution and the economy. Earlier this month the Scottish Social Attitudes survey found 41% of Scots believe the economy would improve under independence, compared to 26% in 2014.

Only 35% thought independence would make the economy worse. A recent poll also found Scots are more likely to be optimistic about the future than people elsewhere in the UK. More surveyed north of the border said the country’s best days were in the future (36%) than in the past (29%). In England 49% said the country was better in the past and only 17% said the best days were to come.