THE Minister for Independence has insisted he has “not at any stage” advocated for devo-max and that the SNP will focus on an “overt campaign in favour of independence”.

Last week, the Daily Record reported that Jamie Hepburn said the SNP should “consider” a multi-option independence referendum.

However, Hepburn insisted that he did not argue that devo-max, a wide-ranging term but essentially full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, should be included as a third option during any independence referendum.

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He told journalists in Glasgow on Monday that the only constitutional option he would advocate for would be full independence. 

Last week, Hepburn was asked by the Record about a possible deal between Labour and the SNP on a multi-option referendum, if Keir Starmer found himself in Number 10 after the next General Election.

Hepburn said it was something that the party should “consider” but only if it was a possibility, and said he supported calls for the Scottish Parliament to be given further powers.

The Minister for Independence described devo-max as “sub-optimal” but argued it would be better than the current devolution settlement, which has seen repeated attacks on its powers from the Westminster Tories.

The National:

However, Hepburn added: “But by comparison with being an independent actor on the global stage, being able to determine our own relationship with the rest of Europe, I don't think it's as good an option.”

The issue was raised during a press conference following the publication of the fourth independence whitepaper in the Building a New Scotland series.

At a sit down with press journalists following the paper publication, First Minister Humza Yousaf said he “read carefully” the details of Hepburn’s remarks in the Record article.

“He made it absolutely and abundantly clear that independence is what we are pursuing, independence and nothing less,” Yousaf said.

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“If other parties want to throw in devo-max and whatever else into the mix, that's for them to make the case.

“I'm not entertaining anything other than the mandate that we were given and the mandate we were given was for independence referendum, and that is what we are pursuing independence nothing less.”

Hepburn interjected to clarify his comments, adding: “Can I just be clear, I have not at any stage advocated the SNP should pursue anything other than an overt clear campaign in favour of independence.

“It is the only constitutional option I'm interested in, the SNP is interested in, and that's what we will pursue.”

It comes as the FM revealed that Scotland could ditch King Charles as head of state and implement a written constitution within three to five years of a Yes vote.

Elsewhere, activists praised the bid to ban nuclear weapons from Scotland in a written constitution.