THE prospect of a second independence referendum being triggered by Scotland being dragged out of the EU is back on the table after the Greens indicated that they would support Nicola Sturgeon if she moved for a repeat vote under the circumstances.

Patrick Harvie, who as co-convenor of the Greens holds the balance of power over the independence question after the SNP fell just short of a Holyrood majority, said that if a new referendum bill was put in front of him following an EU vote going against the wishes of the Scottish public, his MSPs would back it.

However, he said he was not convinced that the Yes side would win a referendum in such a scenario and called for efforts to be focused on winning the case to remain in Europe in the coming weeks, before turning attention to a longer-term drive to build the case for Scotland leaving the UK and convince sceptics.

Poll: How would you vote in a second Scottish independence referendum?

The SNP said that a significant shift in circumstances from 2014, such as Scotland voting to remain in the EU but being dragged out on the back of votes from other parts of the UK, would be a potential trigger for a new referendum in its manifesto.

Ahead of last week's vote, Ms Sturgeon said that in the circumstances, it would be "highly likely" that she would move for a fresh referendum, potentially within days of the EU vote next month.

But the Greens had no such manifesto commitment, while Mr Harvie has previously downplayed the chances of the EU decision acting as a trigger for a new vote on independence.

After Ms Sturgeon fell short of an overall majority, it led to claims that she would have no mandate to call a referendum and the SNP has since focussed on the other trigger it set out for a vote - that one should be called if clear and compelling evidence emerged to show a significant majority wanted one.

However, if the SNP leader could count on Mr Harvie and his five other Green MSPs if Scotland is to be taken out of the EU against its will, she would have the support of a majority at Holyrood and could claim a mandate, even if this would be strongly disputed by the pro-UK parties and the UK Government.

Speaking shortly after he unveiled his new team, which following a successful night last week has trebled in size, Mr Harvie said: "Greens support independence. I don't think we're ever going to argue against that position. What I have argued is that those on the pro-independence side who have almost seemed to be relishing the prospect of that Brexit scenario would be well advised to think carefully. I don't think it's the strongest context within which to continue to build the case that convinces those who weren't convinced of independence.

Poll: How would you vote in a second Scottish independence referendum?

"I've no doubt at all that if that scenario takes place, there will be many who will demand another referendum. But I suspect they will already be the people who were convinced in 2014. They won't be the kind of people who felt uncertain in 2014 and those are the people that independence advocates need to engage with. The most important thing for us to do over the next month and a bit is to argue for every vote we can possibly win, in Scotland and across these islands, to stay in the EU. That's what pro-independence supporters, I believe, should be trying to do."

But pushed over whether he would support the SNP following a remain vote in Scotland but a leave majority UK-wide, which he admitted was "not impossible by any means", he added: "If the Scottish Government came forward with a new independence referendum bill in that scenario, we'll still be a pro-independence party and we'll still argue for a Yes vote."

Asked if this meant he would definitely back the Bill, he said: "Yeah, but the situation we are in today is not that situation and I'm not resigned to seeing this scenario happen."

Poll: How would you vote in a second Scottish independence referendum?

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that she is to push ahead with an independence drive from this summer, in which she will attempt to persuade a majority of Scots of the merits of leaving the UK.

Speaking at the weekend, the SNP leader said: "There is an independence-supporting majority in the Scottish Parliament if you take the SNPs and the Greens. My manifesto said in certain circumstances the Scottish Parliament should have the right to propose another referendum."