SCOTS should be given the choice of independence because Boris Johnson is a “radical” Prime Minister who is going to “dramatically change” the UK anyway, a former SNP MP has insisted.

Speaking on the BBC’s Debate Night show, former North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins said people should be given the chance to debate the country’s future, given how much the union is being transformed in the wake of Brexit and under the premiership of Johnson.

An audience member had asked what lessons could be learnt from the “economic disaster” caused by Brexit if Scotland were to become independent, and what could it do differently.

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour argued Brexit showed how difficult it would be for Scotland to leave the UK and claimed it was not the time for an independence referendum.

But Gethins insisted the fallout of Brexit was not a reason Scotland should stay in the union, suggesting there was “no such thing as the status quo” anymore.

He said: “People in Scotland have overwhelmingly backed a party that wants independence. If the Scottish parliamentary election last year had been a Westminster election, in terms of constituency seats, the SNP would’ve won 580 out of the 650 seats.

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“Now, it's proportional thankfully so you get a more proportional parliament and you can have that broader depth of debate but I’m not sure you move politics on by saying to people, regardless of how you vote, you’ve got it wrong and we know what’s best.

“I actually don’t think that serves the Union. I’m not here to stand up for the Union but I think what you need is I think you need that broad debate.

“I think people who support independence have got some very serious questions to answer but actually the union has changed dramatically as a result of Brexit. Boris Johnson is a radical Prime Minister who is changing the UK, radically.

“There is no such thing as the status quo anymore. You’re going to get dramatic change in your situation anyway so why not give people a choice of whether that dramatic change is within the union or with independence?”

Balfour said: “I think we are in an economically difficult place and I think for us to be talking about independence, about moving away from our largest market, it’s just absolutely not the time to do it.

“The Brexit experience has shown us how difficult it is to divide from a market that was important to us in Scotland, the market of the UK is vital for us.”

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Gethins argued the Brexit process should show people the importance of having constructive debates, citing how the UK Government “rushed through” triggering Article 50 in the wake of a Leave vote.

He claimed the Westminster Government did not understand how damaging Brexit would be, but their “mistake” doesn't mean Scotland should steer clear of independence. 

He added: “I think the first thing you can learn from the Brexit process is the value of productive and respectful debate.

“It was rushed through. I remember I put down an amendment saying you shouldn’t be having this six weeks afterwards, that was your first mistake.

“And then all of a sudden you’ve left the EU without, I’m afraid to say, your colleagues at Westminster really understanding what the EU did or the value in the single market which now contributes to the energy and food and drink crisis.

“On the point of “oh well, it was so terrible that means we can’t have independence”, what you’re arguing there is, we’ve made a really bad mistake here and we made such a bad mistake we’ve got to stick with it.”

SNP MP John Nicolson praised Gethins for his contribution to the programme.

"Really refreshing to hear a contributor allowed to give a detailed and thoughtful answer on national television, developing an argument, without interruption from the chair," he noted on Twitter.