THE SNP getting on board with Labour’s plans for constitutional change could yield a “gold-standard referendum in four or five years”, the former chief strategist of the Yes campaign has said.

Writing in the Herald, Stephen Noon focused Gordon Brown’s plans to embed the Sewel Convention – which says Westminster will not normally legislate in devolved areas without Holyrood’s consent – in law.

Noon suggested that giving Scotland real consent, rather than one based purely on convention, was “likely” to be one of the first laws introduced by a UK Government under Keir Starmer.

He said the Scottish Government should get on board with the idea, as it could open doors to an independence referendum in the medium term.

READ MORE: Stephen Noon: The SNP need to move on from the mindset of being ‘the 45’

The Yes strategist turned Edinburgh University researcher wrote: “Consultation is an already well-established part of the legislative consent process at Holyrood and, drawing on the experiences that helped bring the Scottish Parliament into being 25 years ago, that consultation could become a genuine civic engagement.

“We have the wherewithal to construct a process of all-Scotland conversation, starting within a matter of months, that takes Labour’s plans as a starting point while including also more independence and full independence – no option ruled out, no option favoured. It would be an attempt to actually discover the constitutional will of the Scottish people.”

He went on: “My own party, the SNP, is currently engaged in a debate about whether to use a future Westminster or Holyrood election as a ‘de facto’ referendum vote, but almost everyone I speak to believes these options are a distant second best.

“This idea is not a magic wand that would guarantee the delivery of our preferred 2014-style referendum. However, it opens up a path that might take us there, delivering a gold-standard referendum in four or five years, if that’s what the people genuinely want.”

Noon suggested that the Scottish Parliament could offer to consent to Labour’s plans for constitutional change on the condition of Holyrood being given additional powers, “for example, gaining more job-creating powers or, indeed, securing the power for Holyrood to legislate for an independence referendum”.

He said Starmer ignoring such a proposition would “go against the very grain of the changes he is looking to introduce”.

Noon’s comments come as Gordon Brown announced plans to launch a report calling for greater connection between Scotland the English cities such as London, Oxford, and Cambridge.

A report from Brown’s think-tank Our Scottish Future said that better links could help to stimulate Scotland’s innovation and economy.