THE SNP is increasing preparations for a possible General Election with the party’s new depute saying it is “fired up and ready to go”.

Keith Brown also announced Julie Hepburn, his close runner up in the recent depute leadership contest, will be a member of a new elections’ campaign committee, along with the MPs Alison Thewliss and Drew Hendry, MSP Kenneth Gibson, and former MP Margaret Ferrier.

READ MORE: Keith Brown – We’re ready for a snap General Election

Writing in The National today, Brown said the SNP had opened vetting procedures for potential candidates for a snap election, and was also building the case for Scottish independence.

“I have been ramping up the SNP’s preparedness for a snap Westminster election as well as building the case around the ‘why of independence,’” he said.

“Vetting for potential candidates for the next General Election is now open and Westminster liaison committees are being re-established.

“I have also set up the SNP Campaign Committee, with myself chairing in my other new role as campaign director aided by strong team with Alison Thewliss MP, Kenneth Gibson MSP, Drew Hendry MP, Julie Hepburn and Margaret Ferrier.”

He added: “Make no mistake: with the Tories in turmoil over Brexit and Labour devoid of relevance and purpose in Scotland, we’re fired up and ready to go.”

Speculation has grown over the past couple of weeks that the UK may be heading towards another snap Westminster election if the Prime Minister does not get Parliament to back any Brexit deal she agrees with the European Union. Her White Paper plan for a softer Brexit has been met with anger from her Brexiteer backbenchers and prompted a string of resignations from her government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due in the autumn to set out what her plans are on whether to move forward with a new independence referendum.

The question of the timing of a second plebiscite dominated the SNP depute leadership election with Brown saying a new vote on independence could take place in one or two years.

A new economic blueprint for independence was put forward in the report by SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission, published in May, recommending the continued use of the pound for an extended transition, population growth through attracting more foreign nationals, and reducing the Budget deficit to below 3% within five or 10 years.

It also recommended corporation tax should not exceed that of the UK’s.

The document caused a major debate in the Yes movement, with figures on the left arguing it extended economic austerity. Andrew Wilson, the commission’s chair, rejected those arguments, and argued it made the case for independence stronger. The SNP is holding five national assemblies meetings in August and September to allow members to have their say.

The meeting in Edinburgh at the Corn Exchange on Sunday September 9 is already fully booked with 500 people due to attend. The SNP said the events at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday August 25 and Aviemore Macdonald on Saturday September 1 were also being booked up quickly.