MOMENTUM is growing for a second independence referendum after SNP MPs have said that “now is the time for a new vote”.

Philippa Whitford became the latest senior figure to add to the growing calls for a fresh plebiscite in the near future on Scotland’s constitutional position.

READ MORE: Whitford: Now is the time for Scotland to have the right to choose its future

Writing in today’s Sunday National, she said: “As the 27 remaining EU states meet today to consider the withdrawal agreement and political declaration, we need to consider the mechanisms by which Scotland’s life boat can be launched to escape this Brexit bourach.

“Last spring, in response to the First Minister’s request for a Section 30 order (the power to organise a binding referendum) the Prime Minister said “Now is not the time”. Well, with Brexit looming, now IS the time for Scotland to have the right to choose its own future.”

Whitford, the SNP’s health spokesperson at Westminster, was among six SNP MPs to put their name to a letter drafted by their colleague Angus MacNeil to the Prime Minister asking her to give her preference for a possible route to independence, whether that should be via a referendum or General Election.

Tweeting a front page of The National yesterday where we revealed that EU nationals were preparing to leave Scotland and were seeking clarity on when there would be a new referendum, MacNeil said: “Holding #indyref2 is now our civic duty to people of other nationalities living in Scotland.”

In an interview yesterday Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener, said people in the Yes movement were beginning to get “impatient” and that the Scottish Government should set out its position “very soon”.

He told The Herald: “I hope we don’t have to wait too long. I think there’s a great many other supporters of independence, of whichever political party they support, who are starting to get impatient.”

Nicola Sturgeon said last year she would set out plans on a new vote at the end of the Brexit negotiations, once there was more clarity, and last Sunday said she would reveal her plans “in the not too distant future”.

Brexit Secretary Mike Russell hinted last week a new referendum would be called if May’s withdrawal agreement was passed in the Commons.

Yesterday, the First Minister challenged May to a debate on the UK Government’s Brexit proposals.

Amid speculation the Prime Minister could hold a debate with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before MPs vote on the deal, Sturgeon called for a full leaders’ debate.

She tweeted: “I can’t speak for @jeremycorbyn, but I’d be up for a full leaders debate on the ‘deal’. So, how about it PM @theresa_may?”

The FM and May met last week in London where they had a “full, frank and calm” exchange of views on Brexit. She described the draft as a document which will ask people to “take a blindfold leap off a cliff”. Sturgeon said: “I’ve seen today the current draft – it’s not binding, it doesn’t have legal effect and effectively it amounts to the House of Commons being asked to vote to exit the EU without knowing what comes next. That’s asking people to take a blindfold leap off a cliff edge and I have said all along I just don’t think that’s a reasonable or acceptable thing to do.”