THE former chief strategist of the Yes Scotland campaign has said independence could take “10 to 20 years” as he stressed the need to become “independent well”.

During his appearance on Question Time, Stephen Noon pointed to Brexit as an example of breaking away from something that ended with a “bad result”.

He said he wanted independence to happen in a way that was “unifying” as he said the process of getting there would determine its success as much as anything.

Asked if independence was a pipe dream, he said: “No, independence is not a pipe dream. I think the political energy has shifted.

“I think we’ve ended a period of 10 years where the central energy in Scottish politics was the referendum and the aftermath of the referendum.

“I think the energy is now shifting to the likelihood of a Labour government in the UK. A Labour government that’s talking about constitutional reform which will include some change for Scotland.

“For me the energy behind those who believe in a stronger Scottish Parliament has to now be persuading Labour to make the Scottish Parliament as strong as possible.”

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He explained he thought there was a “good, better and best” option with independence representing the latter, and a Labour government being elected in Westminster as “good”.

He said what would protect Scotland in the “long-term” would be a having a stronger Parliament but stressed the “best option is independence”.

“We need to become independent well. We need to take it slowly. I think we need to do it in steps,” he said.

“One of the lessons of Brexit is if you leave the [European] Union in conflict with your neighbour, if you leave it with no plan in place then you end up with a bad result.

“I want independence to happen in a way that is unifying in Scotland. We do it in cooperation with the rest of the UK because they’re our closest partners, friends neighbours.

“But we also do it in a way where we have the institutional capacity, we have the ability to become independent in a secure, smooth and successful way.”

Host Fiona Bruce then pointed out Noon was talking about “some time off” by the time independence was achieved.

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He replied: “It may take 10 years, it may take 15 years, it may take 20 years but we become stronger, we take on more powers, we work out what we need, what levers we need in Scotland in order to deal with the pressing problems.”

Noon added that ongoing relationships would be needed with the rest of the UK and with the EU.

“We have to take it slightly more slowly than the SNP is maybe arguing for publicly at the moment,” he said.

“I still believe passionately in independence but I want us to become independent in the best possible way.”