THE second reading of legislation that would give Scotland the power to hold a fresh independence referendum every seven years has been moved to November in a bid to “keep the bill alive”.

Alba MP Neale Hanvey first put forward his Scotland (Self-Determination) Bill in February this year, with the backing of five other MPs.

The second reading was originally slated for Friday March 24, but with the SNP leadership contest underway at the time, Hanvey said he made the “conscious decision” to push the second reading back and keep independence on the Westminster agenda.

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The second stage of the legislation is scheduled for Friday November 24.

“The House is currently not expected to sit on this day and the Bill is therefore not expected to be taken,” the Commons website reads.

However, Hanvey (pictured below) said that this is standard procedure for Ten Minute Rule Bills, which are a type of Private Members' Bills which can be introduced into the Commons under standing orders.

It allows the MP to make the case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to 10 minutes. Hanvey’s bill proposed amending the Scotland Act 1998 to transfer Section 30 powers from Westminster to Holyrood, allowing an independence referendum to go ahead.

The National: Neale Hanvey speaking during a Alba Special National Assembly

The Ten-Minute Rule Bills are unlikely to become law but are a way of drawing attention to an issue.

“What I had hoped by making the conscious decision to push that bill back, that whilst it delays the second treating notionally, what it does is it keeps the bill alive, so it's still active legislation moving through the House,” Hanvey told the Sunday National.

“What I had hoped was that whoever was successful in the SNP leadership race would recognize the importance of this bill to the development of the case for independence, and provide further support.

“I wrote to each of the candidates during the election process inviting them to give their support, unambiguously, and unfortunately, that hasn't happened.”

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Hanvey added that neither his Bill nor the St Andrew’s Day declaration, which asserts Scotland’s right of self-determination, has the support of the SNP.

“If you read them, both of them, neither of them are party political,” Hanvey added.

“They are absolutely, completely and utterly reflections on the desires and wishes of the independence movement in Scotland and that is deliberately framed as such because that is the target audience really, and the people whose voices I seek to represent.”

The self-determination bill says that power to legislate for a referendum may only be exercised where the Scottish public has demonstrated its support for calling a ballot, and that no referendum can be held until seven years after any previous vote.

Hanvey said that he is determined to keep independence on the agenda at Westminster.

“I think on the government benches, plenty’s being done to do everything they can to stymie our ambitions.

“In terms of getting that [independence] on the agenda, okay, it’s on the agenda notionally because it appears in newsprint, and it's said in the chamber, but there’s no activity beyond that.

“I’m not prepared to accept that, so I’m more than happy to keep pushing.”

Hanvey’s bill was backed by five other MPs at the first stage, including fellow Alba MP Kenny MacAskiill, SNP MPs Joanna Cherry, Angus MacNeil, and Douglas Chapman, and independent Margaret Ferrier, who has since been suspended from the House.