SNP leadership contender Ash Regan has said those who mocked her “independence readiness thermometer” suggestion can “crack on”.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP spoke to The National for a special podcast episode amid the contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister.

Speaking the morning after the Channel 4 televised debate, Regan said that she doesn’t believe Scotland is “that far off” from separation from the UK.

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She also agreed with comments made by SNP MP Pete Wishart that if the next General Election isn’t fought on the single issue of independence, then the campaign could drop off for quite a long time.

During the party’s hustings event in Fife last week, Regan suggested, alongside an independence convention, that there should be a physical “readiness thermometer” created and installed in a Scottish city that would show the progress of work being done.

The idea spread like wildfire on social media, with many Unionist accounts mocking the idea.

Speaking to Holyrood Weekly, Regan said: “That was an idea that another group had come up with and I liked the kind of underlying part of it, that it would communicate to people how we were doing.

The National: Regan suggested an independence readiness thermometer during a Fife hustingsRegan suggested an independence readiness thermometer during a Fife hustings (Image: PA)

“So it doesn't have to be that particular idea, but I think the Commission will definitely need to report on progress to people.

“So maybe that's an index, you know, maybe there's other ways of representing it, but the underlying idea, I think, is sound.

“If you're going to do something, you need to communicate the progress.

“So, yeah, if people think it's funny, that's up to [them], you know, crack on.”

Elsewhere, Regan reiterated that her plans for independence would give “power back to the Scottish people” and that Scotland should stop asking Westminster for permission.

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Her independence strategy has faced criticism for appearing similar to Alba and Alex Salmond’s, but she has refuted that and said her ideas are all her own.

She told The National: “We just run each and every election as a permanent mechanism for the Scottish people to express their will.

“I had a look at the figures recently and for the regional list for the Scottish election all the pro-indy parties combined, I think it was something like, I think it was 50.3% of the vote.

“So under my system, I'm not suggesting we would just use a regional list, I think we use the combined for the constituency seats as well.

The National:

“But it just shows you we're not far off that.

“I think we're one election away from Scotland becoming independent.”

Regan added that the route to independence through a Section 30 order is “dead”, and said while the trigger point would be 50% +1, she would be “expecting it to be higher”.

The special Holyrood Weekly episode with Ash Regan is available to listen to above, and on Spotify. Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes have both confirmed to take part in two more episodes in the following weeks as the contest enters its final stages.

You can listen on The National’s website, Spotify, and the Omny streaming platform.

Our regular weekly episode, with political reporters Abbi Garton-Crosbie and Steph Brawn discussing if the SNP is really embroiled in a civil war, is also available to listen below.