MIKE Russell has called for patience among independence supporters, underlining the need for the SNP to choose the “right moment” for indyref2.

Speaking ahead of Nicola Sturgeon’s keynote speech, Scotland’s Brexit Secretary said another referendum should only take place when Scotland is “persuaded, ready and determined to win”.

With Brexit less than six months away, Russell also criticised Theresa May’s “destructive, dysfunctional UK Government”.

He stressed that independence was more than just an alternative future for Scots but could also lead to the creation of a “better Scotland”.

Russell said: “Deciding the when can only come after agreeing on the why. Because the why isn’t just about grabbing a lifeboat in choppy and dangerous seas. The why is about a route to a better Scotland, in a better Europe influencing the creation of a better world.”

“It can only happen when we find the right moment and the right arguments to make it happen.”

Russell also stated that the SNP “will not be the midwives of Brexit, willing dislocation and disaster upon our country”, while hitting out at hardline Brexiteers.

“These extremists regard anything that interferes with the so called ‘sovereignty of Westminster’ as dangerous and unacceptable.

“A no-deal Brexit is their ideal destination, allowing them to pretend that Britannia still rules the waves. And they will waive the rules to get it. So I fear that if they have their way it is not just Europe that is dispensable.

“Devolution is dispensable too, as are Scotland, and Wales and even Northern Ireland – where the threat to devolution is also a threat to peace and security.”