ALBA have piled pressure on the SNP to support their bid to have Holyrood awarded permanent powers to hold independence referendums.

The party’s two MPs Neale Hanvey and Kenny McAskill – alongside former SNP MP Angus MacNeil, who now sits as an independent – have called on the SNP to back their efforts to force a Commons vote on the matter.

They have tabled an amendment to Parliament’s response to the King’s Speech which would add a proposal for MPs to pass a bill that would give Holyrood the power to hold independence referendums subject to certain conditions.

These would be that the Scottish Parliament could only hold another independence referendum if the “Scottish public has demonstrated its support” for one and that they would only be held every seven years.

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So far, no SNP MPs have seconded their motion.

Alba’s Westminster leader Neale Hanvey said: “The King’s Speech showed that the UK Government is continuing to treat Scottish democracy with utter contempt.  

“That is why together with Angus Brendan MacNeil and Kenny MacAskill, I have tabled this amendment, in the first initiative under the ‘Scotland United’ banner. 

“The amendment calls on the UK government to bring forward a bill to amend the Scotland Act 1998 to transfer the power to legislate for a Scottish independence referendum to the Scottish Parliament.

“It is time for all independence-supporting MPs to put country before party and to support this initiative.”

The National: Angus MacNeil

MacNeil (above) has been scathing in recent days of his former party’s attitude towards the constitutional question, accusing his former colleagues of having less independence of thought than the flock of sheep he owns.

He said: “The UK is continuing to ride roughshod over the democratic aspirations of the Scottish people. 

“This is not a situation which any self-respecting independence-supporting MP should accept. 

“It is necessary for all MPs who support independence to put party differences aside to support this amendment, the only one on the order paper to back independence and self-determination.

“This is an amendment which every independence-supporting MP worth their salt can and must get behind.”

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Kenny MacAskill, Alba’s deputy leader, added: “The Westminster establishment continues to ignore the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland because they do not believe that the independence movement is serious about achieving independence. 

“It is only unity of purpose, a clear and attainable strategy and a determination to pursue independence that will ensure our success. 

“We need to stand up for Scottish democracy and Scotland’s right to self-determination in the face of Westminster intransigence.”

The motion as it stands is unlikely to be selected for a vote without the SNP throwing their full weight behind it, as the party did with their motion calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. 

That motion is expected to go to a vote on Wednesday. 

The SNP did not respond to a request for comment.