FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has said he is “confident” that SNP members will back his independence strategy at the party’s October conference.

The SNP leader told delegates at the party’s independence convention in Dundee that at the next General Election they should “offer the people of Scotland a manifesto for an independent Scotland”.

Yousaf said it should be a “manifesto bursting with ideas”, with the crucial statement put on the first line and first page of the election leaflet stating that a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scotland to become an independent country.

READ MORE: Watch SNP Independence Convention LIVE with The National

It comes as the SNP leader also set out that if the SNP win a majority of seats at the next election – not 50% +1 of the vote as had been suggested previously – the “people will have spoken” and the party will take it as an instruction to enter into negotiations with Westminster.

Whether or not a Westminster government – anticipated to be led by Labour’s Keir Starmer, but with all still to play for – would engage in such discussions were at the heart of the FM’s huddle with Scottish journalists at Caird Hall in Dundee, following his speech.

The FM insisted that it would be up to the UK Government to “prove” that Scotland is in a “voluntary Union”.

Asked if he believed members would back his strategy, the FM told The National: “I am confident and look there’s a lively debate and there will be lots of different views on it, and I’m looking forward as I have been doing since the last 12 weeks of engaging with our party membership up and down the country and will over the summer too.”

The First Minister was also asked how his plan was any different to a defacto referendum, put forward by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.

“What it does, it’s a very simple proposition, we’ve never put on line one, page one of a manifesto, make it really clear that if you’re voting for the SNP, you’re voting for Scotland to become an independent country,” he told journalists.

“The question that inevitably you’re going to arrive at is what if Westminster say no, then what do you do, how do you break the logjam?

“That’s a question of course for the UK parties, if this is a voluntary union, then they’ve got to be able prove it.

“If they’re not going to prove that we can negotiate our independence even though people give us mandate after mandate after mandate, then the only way we’re going to break that is through the power of the people.”

​READ MORE: Humza Yousaf sets out SNP independence strategy for General Election

“I’m really pleased with the reaction from those in the crowd,” the FM added.

“What I would say is this is different because we have never on the first line, on the first page of a manifesto, made it as clear as we’re going to make it in the next General Election.

“We’re going to make it absolutely clear with no equivocation at all a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scotland to become independent.

“If we win that election, if we get that mandate from the people then we negotiate with the UK Government to give that democratic effect.”


Yousaf insisted that the SNP’s Plan A would be a legally binding referendum – but under repeated refusal from Westminster to grant one following the Supreme Court ruling, Plan B would be to take the mandate of a General Election win to enter into discussions with the UK Government.

Asked if that meant if the SNP win the next General Election they will demand a referendum from whichever party forms the government, the FM said: “We’d say let’s have a negotiation about how we put it into democratic effect, a referendum is our preference, yes, that has been the case…”

When asked if the plan was still a “defacto” referendum, Yousaf replied: “You can term it whatever you wish to term it…”

​READ MORE: Humza Yousaf leaves convention address to speak directly to heckler

Asked again if he would call it a de facto, the FM added: “Again, I think if you want to have a referendum and test the proposition for popular support you do that through a referendum, that remains our Plan A, always has been our Plan A.

“It’s very simple, that’s been denied to us.

“So, what are the rules of a General Election?

“The rules are pretty simple – you win the most seats, you win that General Election on a very simple proposition, vote for the SNP become an independent country.”

It comes after the FM’s speech was interrupted by a heckler, with Yousaf leaving the stage to talk to the woman involved, pausing proceedings for around five minutes.