MOMENTUM is growing behind alternative routes to independence if a referendum is refused, after comments by several senior SNP figures over the weekend.

SNP deputy leader Keith Brown, Westminster leader Ian Blackford and a senior parliamentary figure have separately warned Westminster that Scotland’s voice will be heard even if the Prime Minister refuses to grant a section 30 order.

Brown suggested his party and the wider Yes movement would not accept a UK veto on Scots “right to self-determination”.

“The SNP, and the wider independence movement, is, by definition, committed to the idea of self-determination; we can never submit to the idea that this right to self-determination can be vetoed,” he said in an article in the Sunday National.

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His intervention comes amid the possibility of Theresa May’s government collapsing over the Brexit deal vote and the prospect of a new general election.

Brown did not spell out what course of action the SNP would take to make Scotland achieve independence if May rejected a section 30 order request.

However, a separate newspaper article reported that SNP insiders are suggesting the party’s next UK general election manifesto will contain a commitment to hold another referendum and if a referendum is blocked then winning a large majority of seats may suffice as a basis for negotiations.

One senior SNP parliamentarian told the Sunday Times: “We might have to look at alternative expressions of the national will. We can go forward other than through a section 30 order. Under no circumstances would we do anything illegal. If illegality was a route, Catalonia would be independent.”


The comment followed remarks by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on Saturday that he would reject a deal with the SNP on a new referendum in exchange for supporting a minority Labour government.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry said in October that the party’s goal could be achieved through a “democratic event” rather than a referendum.

Meanwhile, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford yesterday told the BBC “the issue of independence is one which should be in the hands of the Scottish people”.

His comments came in response to a question on whether the SNP would support a minority Labour government on the condition of getting a section 30 order.

“We said in 2015 and 2017 we would support a progressive alliance, but the issue of independence is one which should be in the hands of the Scottish people. Any Westminster government ought to up hold the votes of the principles of the Scottish people and should not frustrate that,” he said.

“We passed a motion in parliament a few months ago about the claim of right of the sovereignty of the Scottish people and I would expect Westminster to accept the sovereignty of the Scottish people in all circumstances.”

There is also a growing expectation the First Minister will set out her timescale for a new plebiscite on independence in the new year. Sturgeon postponed plans for a second vote after the general election last year and after May had rejected her request for a section 30 order to give Holyrood the legal power to hold a referendum.

The First Minister said last year she would give an update on the timing at the end of the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and last week told journalists she would set out her position once the turmoil over the Brexit deal at Westminster had settled down.

“I will make that statement at a time that I think is right not just for the Scottish Government or for the SNP but right for the people of Scotland.

“I think it is only fair that if we are asking people in Scotland to consider the question of independence then we give them as much clarity as we can,” she said, after arguing the case for a Yes vote had “never been stronger”.