ONE OF the SNP’s most senior MPs has said Scotland doesn’t need a second referendum to win independence.

Speaking at a fringe event at the party’s annual conference, Joanna Cherry said a “democratic event” such as a General Election would be enough.

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The Edinburgh MP also said she wanted the party to “demand a high price” if Jeremy Corbyn asked for their help to form a government after the next election.

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Cherry, the SNP’s home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster, was speaking at event on immigration as the party’s annual gathering got underway at Glasgow’s SEC.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney remained impassive as his Westminster colleague suggested the price of propping up a minority Labour government could be a second referendum or scrapping nuclear weapons.

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She said the Tory Government was “on the ropes” and she believed there could very soon be both a General Election and another referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

The Edinburgh South West MP said “We have to see how things develop, but it seems to me that the idea of a second vote on the EU is building up a head of steam, and that can be used to our advantage, it’s in our interests to keep the whole of the UK in the single market and the customs union.

“The chances of a General Election could be used to our advantage because I think we would have a good chance of getting the Tories out of office. Labour will probably not win with an outright majority but they might be looking to a large – and a larger number than at present – of SNP MPs for support.

“We would ask for a high price for support, such Stewart McDonald our defence spokesman is talking about getting rid of Trident, I’ve talked about saying a Section 30 order would be the price of our support.”

A Labour Party spokesperson dismissed the offer. He told the National: “As Jeremy Corbyn made clear during the General Election, we’re not doing deals or coalitions with anyone. We are campaigning for a Labour government.

“A General Election is about choosing the UK government, for senior SNP MPs to claim it could be used as a proxy for an independence referendum is false, dangerous and treating the electorate with contempt.”

Cherry later told delegates: “Our aim is to make Scotland an independent country, but I would remind you that Scotland voted against that in 2014.”

She continued: “There has to be a democratic event, and I choose those words wisely, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a referendum, it could be something else, like a General Election. But there has to be a democratic event.”

Swinney, however, told the room that there was “shortcut” to winning independence.

“What we’ve got to make sure is we’ve got to make sure that we are in a politically strong position, well supported and engaging with people who currently don’t support us, to win them over to our argument,” he said.

A spokesman for the Scottish Tories said: “Every political party agreed in 2014 that a referendum was the only way to decide on Scotland’s future.

“Not only is the SNP refusing to accept the result, now we have senior MPs suggesting they’d declare independence as and when they please.

“This kind of arrogant nationalism has no place in any functioning democracy. Nicola Sturgeon needs to disown this nonsense from Joanna Cherry immediately.”

An SNP spokeswoman distanced the party from Cherry’s remarks: “The SNP’s longstanding policy, which is set by the membership, is that independence would only be achieved through a referendum, and it is a democratic disgrace that both Labour and the Tories would stand in the way of the people of Scotland having the right to decide the country’s future.”

Independence is set to dominate the party conference this week.

The party’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, is due to tell party members to get ready for the campaign when he addresses the conference today.

He will promise that his MPs with “credibility, with competency and with compassion” are set to “take on the fight in the corridors of Westminster to stand up for Scotland.”

“And it is with all the ambition and energy in this room conference, that when we are ready – we will take that fight to every person in Scotland.

“Scotland will be an independent nation in Europe. Our task is to take the hand of the Scottish people and ask them to come with us and complete our journey. Our vision is to build on the powers of the Scottish Parliament, to build on our record of achievement in Government but also to show people we can do more with the powers of independence.”

“Our obligation is to show that Scotland will be a destination in Europe. A country that will deliver sustainable growth and fairness. It is our duty, it is our ambition and it is our vision to build an independent Scotland”.