JOHN Swinney has confirmed the SNP remain wedded to Humza Yousaf’s independence strategy for the next election.

The SNP leader told The National after his acceptance speech in Glasgow that he backed the “mechanism” agreed at last year’s special conference.

It involves the SNP winning the majority of Scottish seats at the General Election and taking that as a basis for independence support, which they said they would take to the UK Government to begin negotiations on how to give that “democratic effect”.

Yousaf faced criticism during his time as leader for forgetting parts of the plan.

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The latter half of the strategy includes a number of options, including beginning negotiations for independence or making arrangements for indyref2.

The National: Pete Wishart

It was branded a “total mess” by veteran SNP MP Pete Wishart (above) late last year.

But Swinney has said he stands four-square behind the plan.

Asked whether he would take the strategy into the General Election, Swinney told The National: “The party’s agreed a mechanism which will be utilised to take forward the delivery of independence.”

The National: Humza Yousaf

The motion which set out the strategy agreed at the SNP’s special conference last year says that if the party win the majority of Scottish seats at the next election, the Scottish Government would be “empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country”.

The Scottish Government will also take it as a mandate to ask Westminster for more powers and for a constitutional convention to be set up including MPs, MSPs and “representatives of civic Scotland”.

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Like his predecessor, he has spoken of the importance of winning voters around to independence.

He said: “I want to make sure I can win the arguments so that we’ve got a really convincing and strong proposition to put to people. And that to me is essential and if we can win converts to the substance of the arguments for independence then the process arguments are a great deal easier to pursue.

“My argument is that we have to advance the arguments for independence to get people to put the priority into voting for independence which is by voting for the SNP.”

When asked about Swinney reaffirming his support for Yousaf's independence plan a UK Government spokesperson said: “People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, further reducing inflation and improving public services.

“We want to work constructively with the Scottish Government to tackle our shared challenges because that is what families and businesses in Scotland expect.

“This is not the time to be talking about distracting constitutional change.”