AN SNP MP has laid out six key points he says should “underpin” the debate on independence and de facto referendums.

Stewart McDonald further said the world would be watching the decisions made by the SNP in their bid to give the Scottish people a second say on their constitutional future.

It comes after the SNP’s ruling body proposed two options for consideration at the “Special Democracy Conference” to be held in March. It will ask delegates to vote on whether the next General Election should be a de facto referendum requiring a majority of people to back the SNP – with their ballots being counted as a Yes vote – or for a second, watered down proposal.

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This second option would see the next Westminster election fought on the issue of a mandate for indyref2, with a majority of MPs – not the majority of votes – being treated as a victory.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) said it will invite amendments or separate motions for consideration on the issue in order “to enable the fullest possible debate”.

The issue is sure to lead to fierce debate within the SNP in the coming months, culminating in a vote at the special conference in Edinburgh on March 19.

As the discussion heats up, SNP MP McDonald has set out six things which he has said must underpin the debate. These were that it is: dispassionate, realistic, flexible, generous, conscious, and internationalist.

He wrote: “This is necessarily difficult. We’re debating Scotland’s future and the decision we take in March is hugely consequential. We owe this the energy it takes to think, draft and re-draft ideas. The country deserves our most critical approach. Our party will be more resilient for it.”

Explaining each of the six points he said the debate had to be “dispassionate ... meticulously considered, well-informed, and patient”. “We need to be fairly ruthless about this,” McDonald added.

He further said the debate had to be realistic and note that Westminster has the stronger hand, adding: “We should have the confidence to admit this and strategise accordingly.”

The need for flexibility in plans was stressed – “The next few years will be electorally tumultuous, with twists and turns we can’t foresee,” he wrote – adding that Yes campaigners should also be “generous to our opponents” and conscious of the perceptions of the voting public.

Finally, he said that the debate had to be “internationalist”.

McDonald wrote: “The world is watching. Every foreign embassy in the UK will have dedicated staff documenting how this debate plays out, sending DipTels [diplomatic telegrams] to their foreign ministries at home.

“We should ask ourselves what we want them to read in Paris, Berlin, Washington… “The rules-based international order – under unprecedented strain and pressure right now – is something we want Scotland to join, and we have to show that we’re ready. To demonstrate that we need to think like a state and act like a state now.”

The NEC’s motion has met with mixed reaction from the independence movement, signalling that debate is likely to get more intense as the special conference draws nearer.