A NUMBER of SNP branches have lent their backing to a proposal to debate an alternative route to independence without a referendum.

SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and senior SNP councillor Chris McEleny submitted a motion to the party’s conference committee, demanding a fall back position if the UK Government refuses to grant Holyrood powers to hold a new vote by granting Section 30 order.

After it was rejected, the proposal was resubmitted to party bosses as an amendment to motion from Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Early Years Minister Maree Todd.

McEleny said six branches have so far given their support and others have asked to discuss the amendment, which is being put forward for the autumn conference.

The National:

He said: “It is obviously engaging party members – the feedback is the grassroots of the party think this is something we should be debating a least.

“It is really up to the powers that be at the party whether they let it on the agenda or not, but I think it would be quite unbelievable if they didn’t.

“If people don’t think this is a good idea and if people think this shouldn’t be party policy, then we are more than happy for them to stand on the platform at conference and argue why what we are proposing is wrong.

“But to actually try and stop it being debated in the first place, I just think that is something that is not credible.”

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He added: “If they are just going to keep saying no you can’t have another referendum, for us to just keep saying we want another one, it is not a credible position to keep as policy.

“Plan B may soon become plan A.”

SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron has also added her support to the amendment, saying it is “vital to hold the feet of Boris Johnson to the fire”.

She said: “If Boris Johnson and the UK Government continue to refuse to agree to an independence referendum then it’s vital that we have a plan B to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard, whether he likes it or not.”

However the original resolution was rejected by the members of the party’s conference committee on the basis such a significant policy shift should not be determined in a single conference debate.

Critics say any alternative plan should not be decided until after a request for a Section 30 order has been made.