ASH Regan has cast doubts on Humza Yousaf’s independence strategy and suggested there may be a “risk” that Westminster won’t listen if the bar is not set high enough.

The former SNP leadership contender told The National that while she thought the First Minister’s speech was “well received in the hall”, she believes her Voter Empowerment Mechanism (VEM) – to use every election as a de facto referendum – is the route forward.

Speaking to The National outside of Caird Hall, Dundee, at the SNP’s Independence Convention on Saturday, Regan insisted that the referendum route is “dead”.

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Earlier, the FM pledge to put independence at the heart of the next General Election campaign, and said the party should put forward a “manifesto for an independent Scotland”. The first line would read that a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence.

Yousaf told journalists that it was a “simple proposition” and it would be put in Westminster’s hands to show Scotland how “voluntary” the Union is with its response.

However Regan, who has repeatedly called for her independence strategy to be taken into consideration - as well as widening it out to the wider Yes movement - said that it was the “right thing” that the party was discussing the route forward.

Following the FM’s speech, Regan said: “My view is still very much that we need that democratic event and I obviously took out the opportunity to set out my proposal, which I believe is popular with the SNP membership, which is to use each and every election and not to go down the referendum route.

“My view, and I think I heard this reflected today, through the wider membership, the referendum route is dead, we need to move on from that and my proposal is a way of moving past that begging Westminster for a referendum.”

Regan added that her push for 50% plus of the vote share is a “high bar” that would force Westminster to listen.

Yousaf’s plan, on the other hand, hinges on whether or not the SNP “wins” the General Election. From the briefing with the First Minister's spokesperson following the FM’s speech, that appears to rest on winning at least half of the seats.

Asked if she believed that this should be the way forward, Regan said: “I only heard what Humza had said in the main conference area so not sure if he elaborated a little on his, but my proposal is very clear, it’s a high bar, its 50% of votes.

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“My view is its really important for it to be a high bar for Westminster to accept it, because this is a significant vote, we’re talking about leaving the UK, it has to be set at that high bar.”

Asked if she has concerns that if its any lower than that Westminster might not listen to a mandate from the SNP, she replied: “I think there’s a risk of that, that’s why my proposal sets out that its 50% plus.”

But what happens if Westminster says no, whatever route the SNP decide to take? Regan told The National that she believes the key is to gain over 50% of the vote.

She said: “Westminster, the UK, are always telling Scotland it’s a voluntary Union. We know the people of Scotland are sovereign, so we cannot be in a situation where there’s no route for Scotland to be independent.

“If the UK will not allow us to use a referendum, then what we need to remember that a referendum is a ballot box, it’s an election.

“So we can just use elections, we’re very explicit about what we’re doing, what we’re asking for, so the public understand it, the UK Government understand it.

“I believe the UK Government would respect that vote because after all we are a country that’s built on democracy, our elections are overseen by the Electoral Commission, I believe the Westminster government would recognise that vote, and I think we should immediately start negotiating to become an independent Scotland.”

We previously told how the First Minister’s speech was interrupted by a heckler, with Yousaf leaving the stage to talk to the woman involved, pausing proceedings for around five minutes.