SNP leadership hopefuls have been urged to support Alba’s attempts to secure a second referendum in Westminster, if they are successful.

The three leadership challengers have received letters from the party’s Westminster leader Neale Hanvey, calling on them to give their backing to his bids to get the UK Government to transfer powers to allow indyref2.

Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf have all been contacted by the MP, who recently got permission to introduce a bill which, if passed, would transfer the power to hold an independence referendum from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament.

The bill was backed by fellow Alba MP and SNP politicians, including Joanna Cherry and Angus MacNeil.

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And he urged them to back a motion he put to parliament ahead of St Andrew’s Day last year which stated Scotland had the right to self-determination.

In his letter to the MSPs, Hanvey said backing his initiatives would prove the successful candidate was committed to uniting the independence movement regardless of party affiliation.

He said: “The bill seeks to amend the Scotland Act 1998 to transfer the power to legislate for a Scottish independence referendum to the Scottish Parliament where the Scottish public has demonstrated its support for the holding of such a referendum in an election, but no sooner than seven years after any previous such vote.

“This would bring Scotland’s constitutional arrangements into line with the position already conceded by the UK Government in relation to a border poll on the island of Ireland.

“The second reading of the bill is currently scheduled to take place on Friday, March 24.

"I therefore invite you to give each of these initiatives your personal support as I believe this would illustrate your intent to unite the independence movement in common cause making your commitment to delivering Scottish independence unequivocal.” 

Forbes, Regan and Yousaf were approached for comment.