ACTOR and independence supporter Brian Cox has said that Nicola Sturgeon has been “canny” in her approach to a de facto independence referendum.

It was revealed on Saturday that SNP members will debate whether the next Westminster or Holyrood election should be used as a de facto referendum following reports that “major changes” were set to be made to the original plans.

The move has proved divisive, with the Alba Party calling for a special Holyrood election in October.

Cox was asked by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg if he was “frustrated” by the First Minister’s plan to potentially go back on using the next General Election as a de facto referendum.

READ MORE: Brian Cox tells Nicola Sturgeon Scotland has never been as ripe for independence

He told the broadcaster: “I think Nicola has been very canny and she should be canny given the situation and it’s a hot potato.

“It’s been a hot potato for a long time so I think she’s following the right cause. If you consider what happened in the Catalan referendum which was an illegal referendum and they suffered as a result so she has to be very, very careful that we are doing it the right way.”

Kuenssberg then pressed Cox on the frustration expressed by supporters of the independence movement.

Asked about this, the actor added: “Of course they’re frustrated and they’ve every right to be frustrated. It’s a very frustrating situation.

“We are trying to get an independent country.”

Cox added that although achieving independence “seemed overwhelming”, he believed it was the right way forward for Scotland.

He said approaching the situation like a “bull in a china shop” could potentially “damage” Scotland.

Cox added that Sturgeon’s “canniness” is what would “get us there in the end.

The 76-year-old, a former Labour member, was also asked about Keir Starmer and if he had done enough to win back his support.

Although Cox said he agreed with Starmer on the NHS, he said he had not won him back to the party.

“My relationship to Scottish independence is quite different”, he said.  

Cox added: “I really don’t believe that this is a break-up of the United Kingdom. I think it could be a different kind of united.”

The actor has previously said that Nicola Sturgeon is the “genuine article” who will lead Scotland to independence.

Cox used to be a Labour member although moved towards backing independence due to Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq war.

The actor is based in the US although has previously floated the idea of returning to Scotland full-time.

He added: “I would like to see a united federation where each country comes into its own and its sense of autonomy and can contribute as a result to a united federation where everybody comes together.

“At the moment it’s top heavy because it’s very south orientated and I feel that that needs to change, that needs to shift.”