AN SNP minister has described the evolutionary process for achieving independence as “almost unavoidable” and the movement should go “down a gear”.

Writing in the Scotsman on Sunday, Ben Macpherson argued for a more gradual route to build consensus, and for his party be open to work with a Labour UK Government to mend relations and seek increased power for Holyrood.

He also argued taking a gradual approach to independence would convince undecided and no voters.

The SNP Minster for Social Security begins by stating that Scotland is no longer about Yes and No as it was in 2014, that it is now more “complex”, and most Scots want some form of independence.

He said: “Those overly simplistic descriptors and groupings don’t reflect the multifaceted politics of modern Scotland, and our relationship with the rest of the UK and Europe.”

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By recognising this, Macpherson believes, is a way to build “common ground” to gradually win full independence and further claimed that the transition period following any vote for Scotland to leave the UK could take “many years” or even “potentially decades”.

He argued that Scotland does not currently have the necessary infrastructure to become independent quickly and successfully.

As a result, he wrote: “Any reckless, overly disruptive path to statehood would quickly make our quality of life in Scotland poorer.

“Better to go down a gear and take the journey at a reasonably safe speed than crash trying to rush things.”

His comments came as Humza Yousaf, one of the three candidates to be the next SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, insisted independence could be achieved within five years.

The Scottish Health Secretary told the Sunday Mail: “It can be achieved within five years but that’s going to take persuasion and we’re going to have to give people a hope and a vision.”

However, Macpherson writes: “The fact is – and facts matter – Scotland doesn’t yet have all the necessary 21st century state infrastructure to quickly transition to a successful, modern independent country in the short to medium term.”

He further writes that with no agreement coming from the UK Government, it is now the SNP's job to “build consensus and responsibly deliver more of a gradual process of further constitutional change for Scotland”.

Macpherson argues that the current leadership contest provides the SNP an opportunity to reset and engage with all main political parties, Scottish society, and the UK Government.

He suggests that the party should be open-minded about working with a Labour government in Westminster and should first seek further powers for Holyrood as well as international affairs participation.

He writes that Brexit teaches the independence movement “in spades” that having a good relationship with counterparts during negotiations and a transitional process makes constitutional changes easier.

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He concludes with: “Despite how wrongheaded and inept the current UK Government can be, and how much the Union feels like a toxic relationship at times, surely an agreement could be reached in the short-to-medium-term to create a different, better, modern constitutional arrangement – progressing, and certainly not regressing, the current settlement.”

Ben Macpherson was elected in 2016 as MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith. He is backing Humza Yousaf in the leadership race, who has stated he will kickstart the Yes campaign.