A NEW Plan B to achieve independence - backed by Joanna Cherry - has been rejected for debate at the SNP's conference later this month, The National can reveal.

The amendment was lodged after a resolution put forward by Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny was knocked back for the event sparking fury among its supporters.

It will mean there will be no vote on an alternative way forward should Boris Johnson continue to reject a request for powers to be transferred to Holyrood to hold a referendum agreed by the UK and Scottish governments.

The new Plan B had called for the SNP to set up a working group to consider all democratic and legitimate routes to independence and make recommendations on party strategy.

The idea was first suggested by Cherry, the Edinburgh South West MP, who had called for the SNP to “set up a group to work on gaming a copper-bottomed strategy, the details of which need not be advertised to the enemy.”

It was submitted to the party's conference organisers by the Common Weal Group (CWG), a grouping on the left of the party, who were hopeful that it would be included it the event's agenda.

However, a copy of the final agenda for the SNP conference has been obtained by The National and the amendment has not been included.

Instead, the resolution on independence backs the proposal - set out in the earlier draft of the document - of setting up a National Assembly to discuss a way forward should the UK Government continue to refuse a Section 30 order request to hand over powers to Holyrood to hold a new vote. The National Assembly forum has no authority.

"Conference welcomes the announcement of a National Assembly on independence to discuss tactics and strategy for campaigning. National Assembly will initiate a discussion on alternative routes to a legal referendum should the Westminster Government continue to resist the wishes of the people of Scotland for another referendum," it says.

The latest development will disappoint some party members who have seen support for independence grow to a record level of 58% but feel their goal has been frustrated and a No-Deal Brexit looms in less than six weeks.

Normally resolutions are put forward naming their proposer - eg a branch or group within the party - with amendments lodged with the names of their backers ahead of the event.

However, no names have been published referring to either the resolutions or amendments raising questions over what format the conference, which is being held remotely, will take.

"Party members already knew that a debate was being blocked on the McEleny/MacNeil independence Plan B strategy to counter Boris Johnson’s stubbornly high level opposition to a referendum, but there was hope that the proposals backed by Joanna Cherry would at least make the final cut," said one party insider.

"Instead we are left with an agenda that doesn’t propose a single policy. This is not the agenda of a leadership that seriously wants a referendum next year. If it was it would be setting out our position on pensions, currency, a post coronavirus economy, and all the many other areas people want to have clarity on to back independence. 

"Policy proposals, that secured popular support of SNP branches across Scotland, have simply been ignored." 

The draft resolution submitted by MacNeil and McEleny proposed seeking a Section 30 order, but stated that if this was rejected by the UK Government then Scottish ministers should seek a legal challenge to establish if Holyrood could stage a referendum without the UK Government’s agreement.

Should this second step prove unsuccessful, their proposed motion argued that the May 2021 elections should be a de-facto referendum on independence.

MacNeil and McEleny claimed the decision to block their resolution would not be popular among activists who have seen support for independence grow to a record level of 58% but feel their goal has been frustrated and a No-Deal Brexit looms.

"It has been almost four-and-a-half years since the Brexit vote and face facts, the cupboard is bare,” said MacNeil when his proposal was knocked back.

SNP critics of the former Plan B argue the strategy of holding out for a Section 30 order is working with support for independence at record levels. They contend if the PM is not going to grant a Section 30 he is unlikely to enter independence talks.

Responding to Johnson's comments last night that "devolution had been a disaster" MacNeil tweeted that holding such a view made it unlikely that Johnson would agree to a Section 30 order.

He wrote: "And to think it was the plan of some to wait until after the May Election to find this out and leave Scotland flapping in the wind. Plan A only zealots need to wisen up fast!"

The online conference takes place from November 28 to 30.

An SNP spokesman said: “There is a consensus that an agreed referendum is the way to do this. A National Assembly to look at additional ways to hold a legal referendum has already been announced, and rather than restricting it to a select few, it offers the chance for any SNP member to input to that discussion, and that can only be a good thing.”