KEITH Brown has insisted the SNP must get better at highlighting a vote for independence is not a vote for an SNP “government in perpetuity”.

The party’s depute leader told The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast that part of getting people to believe in independence amid a turbulent period for the SNP will involve making it clear that if they vote Yes in a future referendum, they can still have any government they choose once Scotland leaves the UK.

Brown admitted the party had failed to get this message across in the past, despite it being an “obvious point”.

Earlier this week ex-Yes Scotland director Ian Dommett claimed many voters in 2014 felt “voting for independence was voting for the SNP” and that “should never have been the case”.

Brown was questioned about how the SNP get a positive message across about independence while the transparency of the party is being questioned due to a major police probe into how more than £600,000 raised for independence campaigning has been used - known as Operation Branchform.

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He said: “I think one thing that surprises many people within the SNP is that sometimes we have failed to get across the message that by voting for independence you’re not voting for the SNP to be the government in perpetuity. That is not the outcome of independence.

“That might sound an obvious point but it does come up time and time again.

“So the idea of independence is Scotland gets the right to choose the government that it wants every single time and it gets the government it votes for.

“So I think that’s important to get that message across and to say people can have any number of different ways in which they’d like to see an independent Scotland develop and crucially, as well, in my view, the idea that we would, of course, make mistakes in an independent Scotland, but you learn from those mistakes as well.

"I know it’s kind of a cliché to say so but if you do something in terms of an economic or social policy that doesn’t work, then no one’s going to come and fix it for you, and hopefully no one is sitting undermining [in an independent Scotland] in the way that you see the UK Government undermining things just now with DRS [Deposit Return Scheme] or the GRR [Gender Recognition Reform]  Bill.

“It just seems to be such a transformation in the perception of what devolution is for some people to accept that it is right for another government to come in, block a policy which has been consulted on for six years, just because you don’t like it.

“I think when we get beyond that and we start to say ‘you live and prosper by your own decisions’ […] I think that’s an important process Scotland has to go through.”

The National: Keith Brown said independence will mean Scotland can have whatever government it wishes forKeith Brown said independence will mean Scotland can have whatever government it wishes for (Image: PA)

Brown added the series of white papers the Scottish Government is producing – called Building a New Scotland – will also help to flesh out the party’s vision for independence and convince more sceptics of its positives.

The probe into the SNP has seen former chief executive Peter Murrell and former treasurer Colin Beattie arrested. Both were later released without charge pending further investigation.

The home of Murrell and his wife Nicola Sturgeon was searched by police in the wake of Humza Yousaf becoming First Minister. Yousaf said the news had been “gut-wrenching” and had caused him much “frustration” in his early days in the top job.

But Brown – who was justice secretary before moving to the backbenches when Yousaf became First Minister – insisted despite the shadow some may feel the investigation has cast over the party, he would still be happy running a fully-fledged independence campaign right now.

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“The thing that genuinely surprises me is the extent to which [there is] very strong spirits [within the party],” said Brown.

“There’s a kind of defiance there I’m picking up on. We’ve had an uptick in the number of members we have. There is this king of thing [belief] that the party is somewhat under siege from all our opponents just now.”

Asked if he would want to run an independence campaign right now, Brown said: “Yes.

“I remember [after the 2014 result] Bill Robertson asked me ‘you must be absolutely distraught’ and I said ‘I’m actually not’.

“I said when I joined the SNP we were at 10 or 11% in the polls and we just achieved 45%.

“And I think since all that’s happened that we were told wouldn’t happen – Boris Johnson and Brexit – I’m very confident that we would win an independence referendum.”

The latest Holyrood Weekly podcast will be available on streaming services on Friday afternoon.