ONE of the architects of the so-called plan B route to independence has called on the SNP to include putting an alternative route to independence in the manifesto for next year's Holyrood election.

Councillor Chris McEleny called for the party to move on from the insistence that there could only be a referendum if the UK government agreed to a Section 30 order.

Last year McEleny, the SNP Leader on Inverclyde Council, and Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil unsuccessfully tried to have a debate on this idea – which they billed as "plan B" – added to the agenda at the party's conference.

It would have allowed members to discuss if a pro-independence majority in Scotland at either a Holyrood or Westminster election could be a mandate to open negotiations with the UK.

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McEleny said that the outcome of December’s General Election was predictable and a “Plan B” was needed: "Pinning hopes of a section 30 order on Jeremy Corbyn being elected Prime Minister were at best a fantasy and at worse dishonest to the people of Scotland who need us to win our nation’s independence now more than ever. We required a ‘Plan B’ to ensure that we had a political lever at our disposal to ensure Boris Johnson couldn’t just say ‘No’ to Scottish democracy with impunity.

"But instead of accepting political reality and working to produce a considered strategy to outfox Boris Johnson, unelected and unaccountable special advisors went out of their way to spin that by us simply continuing to ask Boris Johnson to play fair he eventually would.”

The National:

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He says that if there has been no progress in securing a referendum then the SNP can not afford to enter the 2021 elections without a plan B as the outcome will be exactly the same: "If the UK Government continues to refuse us our right to exercise democracy via an agreed referendum then we should rely on our own sovereign and democratic parliament to deliver that. “ he said.

In conclusion, McEleny set out what he believes the new strategy of the SNP should be: "Next year’s Holyrood election– should feature an SNP manifesto commitment that should Boris continue to refuse a section 30 order then, by a majority of pro-independence Scottish seats the people of Scotland mandate the Scottish Government to hold a consultative referendum on Scottish independence, with a resulting Yes vote being a mandate for our government to then open independence negotiations with Westminster.

"Faced with that clearly stated proposition, Boris Johnson may run off scared to the courts, he could well even reconsider his rhetoric on a Scottish referendum. If he does not, then so be it."