SNP President Michael Russell has promised Scotland is “on a trajectory” towards a second independence referendum and the mandate for it “will be honoured”.

The pledge came as he spoke at an All Under One Banner (AUOB) march in Arbroath yesterday, the largest to take place since the pandemic hit Scotland.

IN PICTURES: Thousands march on streets of Arbroath for biggest Yes rally since Covid hit

Organisers said around 3000 people attended, with a piper-led procession of Saltires and banners making its way through the historic town, including passing by Arbroath Abbey.

The march was originally meant to be held in 2020 mark the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

The National:

It ended with a rally in the town’s Victoria Park, where AUOB organiser Bob Fotheringham highlighted issues such as the Downing Street partygate scandal, nuclear weapons and the cost of living crisis as showing the need for urgency over holding indyref2.

He addressed Russell directly saying: “The Union is finished and we need to put an end to it. So there is a degree of urgency – so we are saying to Mike, come on Mike, how many mandates do you need? How many do you need?

“It is time to push the boat out and fight for independence, fight for our right to decide.”

The National:

In response, the SNP president (above) told the crowd: “I’m going to do what I have done for the last 40 years – I’m going to spend every waking hour of my life trying to secure the independence of Scotland.

“And so are all of the people here. So let’s unite with that first of all. We all want independence, we are all going to deliver independence.”

Russell said a country’s right to choose its government was as true now as it was 700 years ago – but that was not being heard in Downing Street.

He went on: “You asked about the mandate. The mandate holds. The mandate will be honoured. The referendum will take place. A bill will be introduced into the Scottish Parliament, and it will pass.

“We are now through the pandemic, we have heard what the First Minister says, we are on a trajectory to that referendum.

“Let’s stick on that trajectory, let’s be on that trajectory and let’s do that together.”

The National:

Russell also issued a plea for the independence movement to work together “in mutual respect”.

He added: “There used to be a slogan in this movement of ours. The slogan was ‘independence nothing less’.

“It is a good one, but there is a better one – ‘independence – nothing else’.

“Nothing else will allow us to recover from the pandemic, overcome the damage of Brexit, step into the world again the equal of all our neighbours and keen to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the defence of peace, prosperity and the defence of self-determination.”

Other speakers included Eva Comrie, of the Alba party, who also issued a plea for unity and urged every person worked to persuade “one more” to support Yes.

She said: “What is it Westminster fears more than anything? It is to see the independence movement of Scotland united as one.”