HOLYROOD has backed a People’s Vote on the terms of the Brexit deal, becoming the first parliament in the UK to do so.

It is a significant moment for the campaign, which has been gaining momentum in recent months.

READ MORE: SNP renew focus on independence in light of People's Vote debate

Despite its high-profile backers, the political route to a People’s Vote remains unclear. It has been suggested that if the House of Commons votes down Theresa May’s eventual Brexit deal, we would reach an impasse: the only solution to which would be to put the question back to the electorate. Logical, perhaps – but also wildly optimistic. Especially given the UK Government have shown that they are prepared to do almost anything to push Brexit through.

The threat of potential medicine shortages, damaging the peace process and the devastating economic impact of a no-deal haven’t given the UK Government pause for thought. It’s unlikely that MPs vocalising their disquiet with “bad Brexit or blind Brexit” would either.

The March exit day is fast approaching and there is scant parliamentary business time to thrash out the intricacies of the withdrawal agreement, let alone garner the political agreement and planning that a People’s Vote would necessitate.

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Labour’s tepid support for a second EU referendum should be of little comfort to those clinging to the hope that Brexit can be stopped. The path to a General Election and a Labour Government that will legislate for a People’s Vote is no more likely than the current incumbent of No 10 suddenly having a change of heart.

As things stand, it is not a realistic prospect, which is why the SNP’s more vocal support of a People’s Vote in recent months has been somewhat confusing. Things may change, of course. If the politics of the past four years have taught us anything, it’s never to rule out the improbable.

Some prominent SNP figures have recently spoken out against the party backing a People’s Vote. Pete Wishart warned that the move could create “all sorts of risks to a future independence referendum, for nothing”.

It certainly gives rise to the notion that a future successful independence referendum may be subject to a similar ratification vote.

Brexit and independence are inextricably linked, for better or worse. The latter doesn’t depend on the former and we should be wary of assuming that the doomsday scenario of a no-deal will convince voters of the pitfalls of sticking with the status quo.

It’s just as possible that voters in Scotland will see the chaos and confusion that the UK becomes engulfed in and decide that further change is too uncertain a prospect.

The SNP are navigating a difficult set of circumstances which they cannot meaningfully influence. Nicola Sturgeon has said her red line for the withdrawal agreement is full and permanent membership of the single market and customs union. Notwithstanding that, she has given her party’s support for a People’s Vote and said her MPs would vote for it at Westminster.

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It’s a gesture – but an important one – that the First Minister could easily have dodged.

In the land of fairies and chocolate rivers, the SNP might expect such goodwill to be reciprocated. But in the real world, politicians who are staunch advocates of a People’s Vote – particularly in Scotland – are never going to extend the same logic or opportunity to those who would like a second independence referendum.

The energy of the People’s Vote campaign is admirable. They’ve managed to change the conversation and bring politicians on board through the force of their political presence and the enviable coverage that they’ve received.

Supporters of independence should utilise that energy: not least because there is a danger that amidst all the noise, the case for independence is drowned out.

Nicola Sturgeon has been clear that she will not “use the mandate’’ for a second independence referendum until the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is known.

In the meantime, independence-supporting politicians should be utilising every opportunity to remind voters of that mandate.

To assume that everybody remembers the circumstances that led up to the Scottish Parliament backing indyref2 in March 2017 is to risk being bogged down by a debate over legitimacy when the time comes.

Of late, there has been little focus on the basic democratic principle that underpins the case for indyref2.

There has been a timidity in calling out the hypocrisy of the LibDems and other Unionists who would deny Scotland another vote, while marching on the streets with their People’s Vote placards.

There’s a big difference between opposing independence and blocking a referendum. That distinction is not made nearly enough and the responsibility for that is on independence-supporting politicians.

Grassroots Yes groups are organised and energised, but without politicians reminding the public – now – of the mandate for indyref2, there is a real danger that it will be denied.

Time is running out for the People’s Vote campaign to secure a mandate for their aims.

The SNP have already secured theirs for a second vote on independence. If they plan on using it anytime soon, it’s high time they started talking about it.