INDEPENDENCE campaigners could add pressure on Boris Johnson over a second referendum by organising more marches in London and running UK-wide advertising campaigns, an expert has said.

Michael Heaney, a research fellow at Glasgow University who specialises in studying protest movements, said supporters were still focused on winning the “battle for hearts and minds” in Scotland.

But he argued the campaign should consider a change in strategy to “raise the political cost” to the Conservatives over continuing to refuse the request for a second vote on independence.

“The bigger strategic challenge right now is how to convince the UK to allow a referendum. That is complicated by the fact Boris Johnson has just led the Conservatives to a large majority in Parliament.” He added: “It seems to me the movement is still very focused on Scotland and Scotland’s politicians.”

In a paper which will be published in the journal Political Insight later this year, Heaney argued there are “numerous things” independence campaigners can do to strengthen their hand to win indyref2.

He said one possibility would be bringing marches directly to London once demonstrations resume, so that the issue isn’t “out of sight, out of mind” for the rest of the UK.

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“The Scottish independence movement does these big beautiful demonstrations and it is really gorgeous to see a mile or more of people marching in the streets of Edinburgh with blue flags,” he said.

“OK, great, but who is it trying to pressure, who is the decision-maker here? The absolute key is increasing the political cost faced by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Government in Westminster.”

Campaigners could use other strategies such as a UK-wide advertising campaign, Heaney suggested.

He argued the argument for independence could also be developed to raise more awareness outside Scotland, with an emphasis on the unfairness of denying a second referendum.

“From my perspective of being an American – and I certainly don’t want to say the States is the best system anywhere – but one of the fundamental principles our system is based on is that political units within the system have equality,” he said.

“I think there is an argument to be made that the current constitutional arrangement of the United Kingdom really allows England to run the show because of population and it doesn’t formally give Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales equal voice. What the independence movement needs to do is make that argument clear and then project it more broadly throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.”