SNP HQ should use next month’s European election as a dry-run for indyref2, one of the party’s prospective MEPs has claimed.

In an article in today’s National, Alex Kerr says the vote on May 23 will “strengthen [the SNP’s] mandate to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence”.

Kerr’s co-writer on the piece is Julie Hepburn, the influential activist, and former candidate for depute leader, who sits on the SNP’s NEC and campaign committee.

The two say the election “may be the best chance we have to finally persuade a majority of people in Scotland of the urgent need for independence”.

READ MORE: SNP's European election campaign MUST be all about independence

They claim that “putting independence at the heart” of the SNP’s campaign will “appeal to those tired of UK mismanagement and help energise our activists, supporters and boost turnout across Scotland.”

They add: “This election will inevitably help build momentum for the real campaign to come, the campaign for an independent Scotland in Europe.”

An SNP spokesman said: “The European elections will be an opportunity for people across Scotland to reject the disastrous Brexit backed by both the Tories and Labour.

“The SNP has an undeniable mandate to hold an independence referendum, and we will continue to make the case that Scotland’s interest are best served as an independent member of the EU.”

While all six candidates for the European election have been announced, delegates to next week’s conference are now voting on the order of the nominees. The two at the top of the list will almost certainly become MEPs.

It’s understood that former MPs John Nicolson and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh had both applied to stand, but both were rejected by the party.

Kerr and Hepburn’s intervention comes ahead of an expected update from Nicola Sturgeon on the timing of a new referendum.

The First Minister is likely to share her thinking with MSPs at some point this week.

Next weekend’s SNP conference will almost certainly be dominated by the party’s preparation for independence with delegates debating Sturgeon’s post-indy currency plan.

The First Minister’s proposals could face a tricky time when delegates come to vote next Saturday afternoon on a motion that states “an SNP government should aim to complete the preparations to take a decision on establishing a new currency by the end of the first term of an independent parliament”.

Writing in The National over the weekend, Sturgeon launched a stout defence of the proposal which would ultimately see an independent Scotland stick with the pound until six tests – set out in Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission -–are passed.

An amendment tabled by a number of local branches calls for an SNP government in an independent Scotland to ignore those tests and “establish a separate Scottish currency within the lifetime of the first, post-independence parliament.”