THE “age of the referendum is over”, according to the former chief strategist of the Yes Scotland campaign.

Stephen Noon said the SNP must combine its core message of support for independence with a broader call for more powers for the Scottish Parliament in an interview on Sunday.

He told the BBC’s Sunday Show the party’s defeat in the Rutherglen by-election last week showed a “new phase in Scottish politics” was beginning.

Noon, who also previously worked as an adviser to Alex Salmond while first minister, said: “So I think it tells us that we’re in, we are in a new era of Scottish politics, I think the age of the referendum is over.

“The Supreme Court decision, the departure of Nicola Sturgeon and this by-election result, they all point in the same direction, we’re entering a new phase in Scottish politics.

“And that hasn’t been defined yet, so that’s where the opportunity for the SNP is, we’re entering a new phase. We have to enter into it actively, I think we have to leave behind the age of the referendum but we can help shape what this next period in Scottish politics is all about.”

Asked what a new era of Scottish politics would mean, Noon predicted that Labour would win the next election which he argued would be a good result for Scotland and the SNP.

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He added: “So I think it means that the energy in Scottish politics for the past 10 years has been behind the Yes – No divide, the referendum was the defining factor.

“I think the defining factor now is the move away from a Tory Government, a replacement for the Tory Government, it’s the emergence of a UK Labour Government, that’s where the political energy is.

“And so I would advise my party to get into that particular current and I think there’s lots of fertile ground for the SNP in that current.

“Scotland progresses when there’s a Labour Government at Westminster and a strong SNP in Scotland.

“So we should be comfortable with Labour winning in England but backed up by SNP success, SNP votes in Scotland.

“I think we’re at a stage where the most important thing is getting more independence. So a Labour Government, what it does, it doesn’t protect us from bad future Westminster decisions.

“It’s a temporary reprieve. We have a breathing space offers us and we should use that breathing space to add to the powers of the Parliament, because it’s the Parliament that protects us from bad Westminster Tory decisions, so being able to add more powers to the Parliament, whether they’re over employment, whether it’s some additional tax responsibilities, energy, a range of different possibilities.

“That is the space I think we should be in, more independence and a step, absolutely, to full independence.”

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Noon, who now works at Glasgow University’s centre for public policy, added that the SNP must attempt to build a broader “coalition” around giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

The National:

Labour have committed to keeping employment law reserved despite calls from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC).

Noon said: “The policy that I’m advocating is the one the SNP has had for decades it’s the way that we’ve had progress in Scotland, we add to the powers of the Parliament.

“And so the SNP is at its best when we’re arguing for independence but when we’re also arguing for the Scottish Parliament to be as strong as possible.

“We’ve put our shoulder to push forward devolution on many occasions and this is just another opportunity to do the same. Put our weight behind more powers for the Parliament.

“Joining people like the STUC, build the coalition, broaden the coalition to include people like the STUC around employment policies.

“[Businessman] Sir Tom Hunter a few weeks ago was arguing for additional tax responsibilities, job-creating powers, so we should be looking to engage with these people, seek alliances with these people.”