AN alternative route to independence will not be debated by members of the SNP at the party’s conference this year.

Angus Brendan MacNeil and Chris McEleny want their party to back their Plan B which they believe would overcome the obstacle if Theresa May’s successor continues to block a new referendum.

In a resolution to a conference committee, MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles and McEleny, SNP group leader on Inverclyde Council, have called for a plebiscite on independence by autumn next year. The motion adds that should the UK Government fail to grant a Section 30 order, a pro-independence electoral victory would mandate the Scottish Government to negotiate with Westminster to enable Scotland to become independent.

The plan would apply to the first major election, whether for Westminster or Holyrood.

It is understood the resolution was not selected for consideration for the conference’s agenda.

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“It wouldn’t be appropriate to change the party’s main policy in a short debate at conference,” one SNP insider told The National. “If you look at the process with the Sustainable Growth Commission, we discussed that for months. You couldn’t do something like change the policy on the route to independence in one resolution.”

The source also pointed to the pledge in the SNP’s manifesto for the 2016 Holyrood election which stated the right to hold a referendum if there was a significant change in material circumstances such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will.

Asked if members will be disappointed, the insider added: “I think some will be as they have been whipped up into a frenzy about it. But in reality most party members are quite pragmatic and happy to keep the policy we have.”

The National: SNP councillor Chris McElenySNP councillor Chris McEleny

The insider insisted the party’s current strategy on building support for independence based on opposition to Brexit was working. “Without a doubt views are shifting towards independence among voters. Even some LibDems and Remain Tory voters are open to Yes if Brexit happens.”

In April the First Minister unveiled her plan for a new independence vote in the current Holyrood session, later suggesting it would be held in the second half of next year. Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the vote would take place following agreement with the UK Government, in line with the process behind the 2014 referendum.

However, May and the two Tory leadership candidates – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – are opposed to a second referendum.

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MacNeil and McEleny said in a joint statement: “We are disappointed it has been deemed that debating a credible plan on how to progress the case for actually delivering independence isn’t worthy of the agenda at SNP conference.

“When the Scottish Government request a Section 30 order, we know the answer is going to be ‘No’. Our plans set out a means of ensuring Scotland’s voice was heard.

“The plan received much support from across Scotland, therefore we are looking forward to the party leadership now setting out their Plan B to ensure that Scotland’s destiny does not depend on the mood and vagaries of the UK Government but of the Scottish people.

“The Scottish Government now has to show leadership on this issue and conference must be given a road map to how the leadership believe we will deliver independence in a variety of scenarios.

“Meanwhile, it surely is past time, three years after the Brexit referendum, that a focussed campaign on independence is launched with Scottish Government backing – merely announcing legislation through the parliament, as was done in April, is not enough.”