FORMER first minister Alex Salmond is to call for an independence referendum bill to be put to Holyrood immediately.

The Alba leader will tell delegates at the party’s second annual conference that a bill calling for Scotland to unilaterally hold a referendum should not be postponed until the upcoming Supreme Court ruling.

Judges at the UK’s highest court are set to determine whether the Scottish Government has the powers to hold an independence referendum without Westminster granting permission.

But with more than 8000 pages of legal arguments and supporting documents to read, the Supreme Court is unlikely to come to a decision for several months.

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Giving the closing speech at Alba’s conference in Stirling, Salmond urged any MSP with the “guts and gumption” to act now” on indyref2.

He will say: “One key point which emerged from this week’s Supreme Court hearing in London is that the Lord Advocate has no veto on the tabling of an independence referendum bill.

“Any minister can take suitable advice and do so. Indeed, any individual MSP could do it.

“Surely there is one single MSP in the entire Scottish Parliament with the guts and the gumption to act.”

He will urge pro-indy parties to “strike while Westminster is in turmoil”.

“The prospect of a Scottish referendum initiative is an essential part of the pressure to force Westminster to concede an agreed referendum.

“The claim that Liz Truss’s chaotic and collapsing government is strong enough to withstand a concerted political campaign from Scotland is ridiculous.

“Now is the time for Scotland to strike while Westminster is in turmoil. With the British economy steaming towards the icebergs it is time for Scotland to launch the independence lifeboat.”

Salmond’s speech will come just a day after Alba members agreed that a pro-independence majority at the next UK General Election should be a mandate for indyref2 negotiations with Westminster.

The National: Alex Salmond urged pro-independence MSPs to 'strike while Westminster is in turmoil'Alex Salmond urged pro-independence MSPs to 'strike while Westminster is in turmoil'

The party called for “an immediate and sustained campaign of parliamentary action, popular agitation and diplomatic initiative to force Westminster’s acceptance of an agreed referendum promised for October 19, 2023”.

Alba also ramped up its calls for pro-independence parties to fight the next election in a “Yes alliance” with one “Scotland United For Independence” candidate contesting each seat.

Depute leader Kenny MacAskill MP said: “If we do this we can deliver a pro-independence majority of seats that must then be used as a mandate to enter straight into independence negotiations with the UK Government.”

Yesterday, the party also called for the introduction of a new luxury goods tax. The move would see VAT charged at 40% on goods such as designer clothes, sports cars and luxury jewellery.

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The party said all other VAT should be cut from 20% to 10%, which the motion said could save each household thousands of pounds.

Among the party’s other tax plans is the creation of a 50p top rate of income tax.

Calling for a “radically progressive” taxation system, delegates agreed that “for Scotland to have the best public services possible and a social security system based on fairness, which rejects the Westminster system of punishing those most in need in our society, then Scotland requires a far bolder and more progressive tax system”.

Alba’s plans would see the Scottish Government introduce three new higher bands, which the party says would see everyone earning more than £70,001 pay more tax.

For those earning more than £150,000 a year, Alba has called for the introduction of a 50% tax rate.