FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon should “pause” plans for indyref2 even if the Supreme Court rules Holyrood can legislate for a second vote, the former chief strategist of Yes Scotland has said.

The UK’s highest court will issue a decision on Wednesday morning on whether Scotland can hold a second independence vote without Westminster’s consent. One of three decisions will be handed down: yes, no, or that giving a ruling would be premature.

If the Supreme Court rules that Holyrood can hold the vote, the Scottish Government will legislate to hold one on October 19, 2023.

READ MORE: Choice facing Scotland in indyref2 'much bigger' than in 2014, John Curtice says

Stephen Noon, the former Yes Scotland strategist who now works as a research scholar at the University of Edinburgh, argued that the date proposed for a second vote should be pushed back.

Speaking after an event at Glasgow University on Scotland’s constitutional future, Noon told The National: “I think we would lose something if we have a dash to a referendum. We wouldn’t be able to have the same degree of conversation that we had before.

“For me, the more we can have a conversation about what sort of Scotland we’d like to achieve, what’s the vision for Scotland, the more we can get back into that space we had before the 2014 referendum and actually create a space where people on the other side can join the conversation in a way that they feel comfortable, for me that’s the better approach.

“If the campaign started straight away that would be alright, but why not push it back a little bit, create the space?”

READ MORE: Here's how The National will be covering the Supreme Court's indyref2 ruling

Speaking during the conference, arranged by the UK in a Changing Europe research group, Noon said: “Independence needs not just winning campaigns, it needs nation building.

“We have not yet done the nation building necessary to have an independence referendum in my view in the way that we had nation building in the 1990s to create the Scottish Parliament.”

He went on: “We need to have a referendum at some point to decide this issue, but it should come after a process of conversation in Scotland where we’re actually working out what is the future we want for our country, and that is a conversation I think we deserve to have, and it’s not been had through the current independence debate.

"We are two sides talking over each other and not really understanding each other and not really hearing each other.

“So, even if it’s a yes [from the Supreme Court], I would like there to be a bit of a pause and actually design a process which leads up to a referendum.”

Noon concluded: “The ideal for me would be getting to a place where we’ve got a proposal which commands the support of 55%/60% of the people of Scotland and you then put that to a referendum.

"As a supporter of Yes that has to be a process that doesn’t shut off independence as an option. That’s what went wrong in the 1990s, the SNP didn’t get involved in the constitutional convention because independence was excluded as an option.

“So, the process we engage in has to be one that doesn’t have any particular end point and opens a conversation up to as many people as possible.”

If the Supreme Court rules that Scotland cannot legislate to hold indyref2 without Westminster consent, then the SNP plan to try to use the next UK General Election as a “de facto” referendum on independence.