THE wording of an alternative route to independence has been agreed between the SNP’s national secretary and the Plan B architects and is in line to be debated at the party conference next month, The National can reveal.

If passed it could see Scottish ministers seek a legal challenge to establish if Holyrood could stage the new vote on self-determination without the Prime Minister’s agreement.

Should this step prove unsuccessful, the motion argues that the May 2021 elections should be a de facto referendum on independence.

The move comes as a series of polls suggest there is majority support for independence with one recent survey showing that 55% of Scots would vote Yes, a reversal of the 2014 referendum.

However, Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he will not give the Scottish Parliament powers to hold a new referendum.

His stance has led to mounting demands among independence supporters for the Scottish Government to develop an alternative strategy to reach their goal.

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The motion has been drawn by Angus MacNeil MP and Councillor Chris McEleny who have agreed the text with the party’s national secretary Angus MacLeod.

MacNeil and McEleny are hopeful it will be debated at the SNP’s autumn conference to be held online because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The resolution notes that “the UK Government has refused to issue a Section 30 order to facilitate a referendum on Scottish independence” and condemns “the undemocratic approach of the UK Government in denying the mandate of the Scottish Government to give the people of Scotland a choice on their own future”.

It goes on to say that “conference reaffirms that holding a consented referendum on Scottish independence is our first preference” before setting out the details of what would happen if Johnson blocks a new vote.

The motion adds: “Conference calls on the Scottish Government to establish the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament holding a referendum on Scottish independence without the approval of the UK Parliament.

“Conference instructs that if a referendum on Scotland’s future is denied by the UK Government and the competence to hold a consultative referendum is not established, then the manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections shall state that the election of a pro-independence majority of seats, in the absence of a referendum, shall be a mandate from the people of Scotland to commence independence negotiations with the UK Government.”

Johnson was last week quizzed by MacNeil when the Prime Minister was in front of the Commons liaison committee about whether he would grant the Scottish Government a Section 30 order. The PM said Scots voted in 2014 to stay in the Union.

An emergency debate on Plan B took place at last year’s SNP conference with the motion heavily defeated. But MacNeil said he believed the mood in the party was changing with more activists seeing the need for such a route.

MacNeil said: “I am glad to say that we have an agreed wording [of the motion] with the National Secretary, Angus MacLeod.

“The motion is needed now especially, to give hope to members and wider Scotland more importantly.

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“Quite clearly from my questioning of Boris Johnson last week at the Liaison Committee, Section 30/Plan A for a Scottish independence referendum is well and truly dead ... The idea that these guys will yield to any opinion that their position is ‘unsustainable’ is for the birds.

“If we carry on this same path, of Sec30-Plan A we will get the same answer and no progress towards independence. Chris McEleny and I, as well as most in the wider membership, have been frustrated ... by the situation but we are not giving up.

“The 2019 election was an opportunity missed, by asking for a Section 30 after the election and running the election only on a mandate to ask for a Section 30.”

He added: “People need hope now, this motion gives us hope, and it establishes a legitimate route to independence. That is the important bit, establishing legitimacy. A referendum does or an election establishes legitimacy, either are tools to for doing exactly that and it would be foolish on our side for anyone to undermine the legitimacy of either way at a ballot box. I am still biased towards a referendum but if that cannot happen then an election is just as good, given the UK Government are serious about denying a referendum. The 2021 Election will be a polling opportunity to establish the legitimacy for independence, I would encourage people to vote for it.”

McEleny said: “Scotland’s voice will be heard whether Westminster likes it or not.”