LEADING figures in the SNP have hit back at a suggestion that a second independence referendum should be a three way vote to include "devo max".

The SNP President and former constitutional affairs secretary Michael Russell was among the politicians to comment on a senior party activist's proposal for a multi-option vote.

It was suggested as a way of breaking the current indyref2 "logjam" which has repeatedly seen the Scottish Government calling for a new referendum and UK ministers refusing to agree.

READ MORE: Indyref2: Ex SNP policy chief backs three-option ballot paper to break 'logjam'

Writing in The National today Chris Hanlon argued that while he would continue to vote for independence, including maximum devolution on the ballot paper could persuade Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree to a new referendum.

For a devo max option to be put to voters, Hanlon said it would need a “triple lock” of guarantees that increase the power of Holyrood.

This would include a guarantee on the permanence of the Scottish parliament so that it could not abolished by Westminster. There would also be a guarantee of supremacy of the Scottish parliament on devolved matters, preventing Westminster from passing laws that affect Scotland in devolved areas without Holyrood’s consent.

Hanlon also insisted there would have to be a “guarantee of the voice of the people of Scotland”, so “Holyrood can call a referendum by simple majority to amend the Scotland Act that is implemented based on a simple majority of the Scottish people approving it”.

Asked for his views on whether he thought the devo max option should be included in a future indyref, Russell wrote: "I do not support including a third option. The normality of independence works as does constructive EU membership.  

"More #Brexit accepting imposed fudge (as described by [Keir] Starmer yesterday) is about saving Westminster not securing the best future for the people of Scotland."

Scottish Government minister for mental well-being and social care Kevin Stewart blasted the three way referendum idea. 

Retweeting The National's front page, which carried the story, he wrote: "Idiotic, foolish, nonsensical….."

His comment was "liked" by the SNP MP Alyn Smith.

But Professor James Mitchell, of Edinburgh University, a leading academic expert on the SNP and author of a book on the historic Hamilton by-election, won by the party's Winnie Ewing in 1967, hit back at Stewart.

Mitchell tweeted: "‘Idiotic, foolish, nonsensical’ - heard many responses to this idea over the decades including this kind of empty vituperation.

"Far more notable is who and why idea supported/opposed. Partisan interest pure and simple. SNP knows binary indy support relies on middle ground."

"Devo-max" was not on the ballot paper in the 2014.

READ MORE: Indyref2: Why devo-max should be an option at the next referendum

A three way vote had been proposed by the former First Minister Alex Salmond but was rejected as an option by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

Salmond later said he had only proposed it as a negotiating tool to get want he really wanted, which was a straight Yes/No vote to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

However, "The Vow", published by the Daily Record just ahead of the referendum in September 2014, when UK leaders promised more powers for Scotland in the wake of a No vote, is thought to have dissuaded some Scots from voting Yes.

Earlier the SNP MSP Gillian Martin, who represents Aberdeenshire East, said she would not support "devo max" and described it as a "con".

She wrote on Twitter: “Devo- max: 1. Was a con in 2014

"2. Is a con, now, and 3. I’ll be having none of it, thank you!

The only way Scotland can really flourish is with full self government with ALL the powers. You know, like other normal countries."

She added: "In fact I’d go as far to say that the very notion of 'Devo-max' floated by certain players last time lost us our independence (and consequently our place in the EU). Nope - it can get in the sea."

The National: Toni Giugliano

The SNP's Policy Development Convener, Toni Giugliano (above) said: "The SNP won a clear mandate in May to deliver an independence referendum.

"Not devo-max or multi-option referenda. That's what the NEC is focused on, and frankly, nothing less will do. 

"I joined the SNP to give Scotland a voice at the top tables of Europe and rid our country of nuclear weapons. No devolution settlement of any sort will achieve those ambitions. 

"Devo-max is meaningless to the vast majority of Scots. In reality it's nothing but a tactic from the Gordon Browns of this world to keep Scotland tied to the corrupt Westminster system. 

"As Policy Development Convener my priority is getting the party ready for independence and I would urge all office bearers to do the same." 

Meanwhile, leading Unionist commentators also attacked a multi-option referendum with the Spectator columnist Stephen Daisley saying it would be a "trap" for the No side.