THE SNP should fight both the next Westminster and Holyrood elections on the single issue of independence, a senior MP has said.

Writing in The National, Edinburgh East MP and the party's constitution spokesperson Tommy Sheppard said the SNP should pursue a long-term plan to use each ballot as “a stepping stone towards independence”.

He also argued the party should demand in their next manifesto that the devolution settlement is updated to allow Scotland to hold a second independence referendum.

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The SNP’s constitution spokesperson said that the Supreme Court ruling didn’t say Scotland shouldn’t be able to choose, but simply that “the current statutes do not allow for it”.

The UK’s highest court ruled that Holyrood did not have the competence to legislate for an independence referendum, as it is a reserved matter under the Scotland Act.

Following the ruling, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the party would fight the next Westminster General Election as a "de-facto" indyref, with a special party conference scheduled for March to thrash out the details. 

In December, SNP Westminster Group leader Stephen Flynn used an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons to bring forward a motion that aimed to table an amendment to the Scotland Act and what matters are reserved to the UK.

The motion fell as 265 MPs from the Tories, Labour and LibDems voted against and 42 SNP MPs voted in support.

It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on his first official visit to Scotland, repeatedly refused to set out the democratic route for a referendum in Scotland.

Writing in Saturday’s National, Sheppard said: “Much has been said recently about the pros and cons of using an election as a de-facto referendum. Some have argued that the next Westminster election should be a vote on independence.

“Others have argued that a Holyrood election would be the better option. But why don’t we use both?

“For too long we’ve been chasing the next election, hoping it would be the vote which delivers independence. We need a longer-term plan which uses each and every democratic event as a stepping-stone towards independence.”

*Read Tommy Sheppard’s full article in The National, online and in print, tomorrow.*