THE SNP has renewed its commitment to Scotland becoming an independent nation arguing it is the only constitutional arrangement which will stop Westminster treating the nation “with contempt”.

Depute leader Keith Brown underlined the party’s core principle amid internal concerns its chief focus was currently being overshadowed by its campaign to oppose Brexit for the whole of the UK.

His intervention comes after growing disquiet about the First Minister’s statement SNP MPs would back a second EU referendum and SNP MSPs voted in Holyrood to support a LibDem call to back a People’s Vote on the terms of the deal.

READ MORE: SNP politicians criticise party's stance on a People's Vote

Former minister Alex Neil and senior MP Pete Wishart are among a number of SNP politicians to voice their concerns in The National and warn backing a second Brexit referendum could put a further obstacle in the way of independence.

Scots backed 62% to 38% to Remain in the European Union, but despite the vote the country is on course to leave in five months.

READ MORE: Holyrood backs 'People's Vote' referendum on final Brexit deal

Proposals put forward by Nicola Sturgeon for the UK to continue in the single market and customs union or for Scotland to have a special deal to remain in them were rejected by the UK Government.

The SNP made a manifesto commitment ahead of the 2016 Holyrood elections to hold a referendum if Scotland was taken out of the EU despite voting to Remain. The First Minister has promised to update parliament on the timetable for a new vote at the end of the Brexit negotiations.

Brown spoke out yesterday in an attempt to shift the Brexit debate towards the rationale for supporting independence and away from discussion about a second EU referendum.

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU – but we’re being dragged out anyway,” he said.

“When the SNP put forward sensible compromise proposals of Norway-style single market membership, we’re told that Westminster knows best.”

He went on to underline the strength of influence the Republic of Ireland had exerted in the negotiations with the EU roundly behind the country in its demand for there to be no return to a hard border on the island.

“Independent Ireland has been shown nothing but solidarity by its EU partners, but Scotland has been shown nothing but contempt by Westminster,” he said.

Independence will put an end to that treatment and will mean a proper partnership of equals – rather than a broken Westminster system which leaves Scotland tied to an increasingly right-wing Tory Government. That message of hope stands in stark contrast to a UK trapped in never-ending Brexit despair.”

His comments were emphasised by the First Minister who said Brexit highlighted “real weaknesses” in the devolution settlement. Speaking after a meeting of the British-Irish Council on the Isle of Man she again urged Tory leaders to consider keeping the whole UK in the single market.

She spoke out after “frank” exchanges yesterday with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington at the meeting which was also attended by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Irish Premier Leo Varadkar.

She said: “I will make no bones about the fact that the Brexit experience has exposed real weaknesses within the devolution settlement that will require them to be worked through and resolved along the way.”