Ms Sturgeon is determined to force through a referendum in the next year or so and has warned a legal challenge could follow if Mr Johnson refuses to give his approval. The ‘Plan B’ option is championed by a number of senior members of the SNP, including MP Angus MacNeil, who wants next May’s Scottish elections to be a “de-facto referendum on independence”.
Mr MacNeil said: “As early as May next year we can ask people in Scotland if they want to be independent and Boris Johnson can’t do a thing to block them having that choice.”
The Western Isles MP insisted: “This opportunity at an election is the most legally recognised opportunity we have in sight for potentially some time to come.”
Ms Sturgeon this morning hinted she was increasingly taking a similar viewpoint.
She told BBC Radio Scotland: “I think if Scotland is to become independent that has to be a view that has to be expressed through a legal referendum.
“However much I might want independence and I might want to think there are shortcuts to that, there aren’t, that’s what has to happen to demonstrate majority support in Scotland and to demonstrate to the international community that it is something they should recognise.
“The point about whether the Westminster Government has to agree to that, that’s never been tested in court.
“You know, I hope it never has to be tested in court but I don’t rule anything like that out.
“I believe we should put our faith in the power of democracy, there will only be a referendum if people in Scotland vote for the party proposing that and Scotland will only be independent if a majority of people vote for that.
Brexit is also a major issue because 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the European Union in a 2016 referendum, even as the UK as a whole voted 52 percent to leave.
Delegates at today’s SNP conference also overwhelmingly backed a resolution making clear “independence is about the right of people in Scotland to decide our own future”.
The resolution, passed by 1,204 votes for to 262 against at the virtual conference, said there had been a “material change in circumstances since 2014” – when Scots voted to remain in the UK.
However, SNP activist Michael Cameron slammed the proposals, adding: “This motion is a poor substitute for proper debate, with nothing in it that can be opposed by any member.”
At the same time, a former special advisor to three Labour Scottish First Ministers announced he backed Scottish independence.
Duncan Maclennan, who was the right-hand man for Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell whom all led Scotland between 1999 and 2007 said it was “fundamentally important” there is another referendum on the issue.
The economist and professor of public policy at Glasgow University also recognised how Scotland is being “steadily disconnected from English policy debates and Whitehall civil service” and slated Prime Minister Boris Johnson for “muscling in on devolved matters and curtailing the power of the Scottish Parliament.”