THE SNP have announced the date for an emergency conference to hash out the detail of fighting the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum.

Nicola Sturgeon announced in the wake of the Scottish Government’s defeat in the Supreme Court earlier in the year that the party would hold an extraordinary meeting in 2023 to deliberate on the detail of the strategy.

The party have called it the “democracy conference” and it will be held on Sunday, March 19 next year at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

It comes after four consecutive polls showed support for independence in the lead, with the SNP claiming that the Supreme Court's ruling has won over swithering voters to the independence cause.  

Figures within the party such as Angus MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, have called for Holyrood to force an early vote next year which could be used a de facto referendum to avoid having to wait for a Westminster election. 

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This would have the advantage of having a broader electorate than Westminster elections, in which 16 and 17-year-olds cannot vote, but which use a more complicated voting system than the UK first-past-the-post set up.

The SNP leadership so far have indicated that victory would be achieved by Yes parties getting more than 51% of the popular vote. 

The First Minister tweeted on Saturday that the special conference would be used to "discuss and decide the way forward to secure independence". 

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP's former deputy Westminster leader, said the Supreme Court's verdict had "galvanised" the Yes movement. 

The party's business convenor added: "The SNP’s Democracy Scotland Conference in March will set out a clear pathway to Scotland being able to express their view on our nation’s constitutional future. 

“The Supreme Court verdict has galvanised the Yes movement right across Scotland.

"More and more people recognise independence not just as desirable but necessary. 

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“This is reflected in the past five polls which show a clear and sustained support for Scotland's democratic rights and independence. This surge in support will be terrifying the Westminster establishment. 

“People know that to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, escape Brexit, invest in the NHS and pay public sector workers a fair wage the Scottish Parliament needs the full powers of independence. 

“The more that Sunak and Starmer tell us we have no right to decide our own future, the more people in Scotland will stand up and demand that basic democratic right.” 

The Supreme Court in London ruled earlier in the year the Scottish Parliament did not have the power to hold another independence referendum without Westminster's permission.