A SECOND independence referendum could take place in November next year, according to the Scottish Greens.

Party co-leader Lorna Slater said she would like to see the vote happen towards the end of 2021 – but warned this would depend on the Covid pandemic and being able to campaign safely.

Her comments come after Brexit Secretary Michael Russell last week said an independence vote could take place before the end of 2021.

Slater told the Sunday National she believed the Conservatives would be unable to keep saying no to consent for indyref2 as demand for holding another vote rises.

She said: “We are getting close to 60% Yes now – that is what we need to keep building on and the way we do that is by having a conversation with the people of Scotland about what we want independence for, about what Scotland can be.

“At the moment I think the future of the UK is looking a bit bleak. I think we can paint a better picture for Scotland as a small, normal, ordinary European country where we are going to invest in public transportation, transition our economy away from oil and gas to more resilient sustainable green industries, where we can really prioritise wellbeing and health over endless GDP growth.

“By explaining that these things are possible in an independent Scotland and having policies to create these things and rebuild Scotland to what we want it to be, that is how we win people over.

“They can’t stop us if the people have a common vision for what we want Scotland to be.”

Slater ruled out any “plan B” ideas for securing a referendum in a different way, saying such “gimmicks” would not create the grassroots support required.

She said: “You can’t win independence by forcing it on people – that is the problem with Brexit. I want to win independence because together a huge number agree what we want Scotland to be – that is how you succeed.

“The quest for independence isn’t over the day we win the vote – we then have to build a new country and I don’t want to build it as a bitterly divided country.

“I want to make sure when we get there we win it and we go straight into being able to build the kind of country we want to see.

“The dream for me would be to hold [the referendum] in November 2021 but we are going to have to see how the pandemic develops to see what is going to be safe and feasible.”

Slater also said the Greens could catch Labour in next year’s Holyrood elections. Speaking at the party’s virtual conference yesterday she said the Greens could “grow our numbers all over Scotland”.

The party returned six MSPs in the last Scottish Parliament election in 2016, with Scottish Labour returning 24 MSPs. However, more recent polls have shown support for Richard Leonard’s party declining.

Slater said: “We can elect three MSPs in Glasgow and Lothian, we can elect MSPs in the North East and Central for the first time and win back the South of Scotland.

“The opinion polls show we can do this, maybe we can catch Scottish Labour. The momentum is behind us and we can do the work needed to make this dream a reality.”

Green MSP Andy Wightman will today make the case for “fundamental” land reform in a speech to the party’s conference.

He will call for Scotland to become a “woodland nation”, with a target to reach 40% woodland cover by 2040.

He will say: “Today, up to a fifth of Scotland’s land mass is currently used as a playground for the ritual slaughter of grouse and other wildlife for the privileged.”