NICOLA Sturgeon is being called upon by the Scottish Greens to hold a new independence referendum within the next two years – whatever happens with Brexit.

Ross Greer MSP, the party’s spokesman on Europe, said the Scottish Government must set out a timetable for a second plebiscite before the next Holyrood election in 2021 and even if the UK does not leave the European Union.

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He spoke out after a week of unprecedented crisis at Westminster which saw the Prime Minister suffer a catastrophic defeat on her Brexit deal. It was the worst ever parliamentary loss for a government over its legislation.

Amid the chaos the First Minister said she would set out her timetable on a new independence vote in weeks and stepped up calls for a second EU referendum or People’s Vote. Polls suggest a new vote could see the Remain side winning.

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Against the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit the Greens want progress to be made on independence.

There is concern among some Yes supporters that if the UK does end up staying in the EU, there will not be a new vote on independence during the current Scottish Parliament.

Greer said his party’s view was that a second independence vote should take place whatever the outcome of a second EU vote and he believed such a case was also set out in the SNP’s 2016 manifesto which stated the right of “the Scottish Parliament to hold a new referendum if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”.

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Greer said: “In the event of a People’s Vote succeeding for Remain, there is still a mandate for an independence vote. The case for one is not just the question of the democratic deficit of Scotland being forced to leave the European Union having voted overwhelming to remain.

“Everything that has happened over the past two and a half years [in the Brexit process] justifies a new referendum as Scotland has been treated with contempt.

“The SNP’s 2016 manifesto talks about a material change in circumstance, and using leaving the European Union as an example. I would argue that the last two and a half years have represented a change in circumstance.

“We’ve gone from a place where a couple of years ago we were told that devolution was not going to be just protected, but enhanced.

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“We were told that Scotland should lead the UK, not leave the UK, yet since the Brexit vote the opposite has been the case. Devolution has come under attack for the first time since 1999. The UK Government made an attempt to take powers away from this Parliament – that in itself is a change in material circumstance.”

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He continued: “This whole Brexit episode, this whole running crisis has shown that the British state is hugely dysfunctional and in a state of decline ... The last two and a half years has shown that, regardless of outcome, and we’re still trying to avoid the Brexit outcome, the UK is not a state that Scotland should continue to be part of.

“It’s clearly not a state we will thrive as part of. In the event the whole of the UK stays in the EU, the Scottish Greens want to make it clear that Scotland should still have the opportunity to decide on our own future.”

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On the issue of timing, he said: “The core argument for having a new vote on independence before 2021 is that there is a parliamentary mandate for one. If we reached the 2021 election not having had an independence referendum the UK Government will have won by denying us our democratic right.

“I am quite confident that in 2021 we can win another mandate, just as we did in 2011 and 2016, but we shouldn’t have to.”

He warned that whatever lay ahead – Brexit or the UK still in the EU – the future was not good for Scotland inside the Union.

“If the UK leaves the EU, not only is that a disaster but we will have 10 or 20 years of disastrous trade deals to negotiate, the UK realising it is no longer a super power, that will be a very painful process of humiliation,” he said.

“And if we remain, those forces who want us to leave the EU, will not be going anywhere. They are very powerful within British politics and within certain section of the British establishment. The people who ran the Leave campaign, the people who lied to the public and who manipulated this situation are in a very powerful position in British politics.

“Potentially one of them could be Prime Minister. Whether the UK leaves or remains in the EU, this issue of Brexit is going to be there poisoning UK politics.

“We don’t underestimate the difficulties of securing a second independence referendum… but we want to keep making the point that at this moment of profound political crisis in the UK we need to keep the issue of independence in there and on the table.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As the First Minister has made clear, she will update the position on independence in the coming weeks – even if the Brexit timetable is prolonged by an extension of Article 50.”