SCOTTISH independence should remain on the table in discussions on the UK’s departure from the EU, Scotland’s Brexit Minister has said.

Mike Russell said the Scottish Government’s belief in independence “has not changed” – as Nicola Sturgeon prepares to reveal her revised strategy for another referendum in the coming days.

The First Minister has come under sustained pressure from Unionist parties to take her threat of a second referendum off the table, following the SNP’s punishing losses at the General Election.

But speaking at a seminar to mark the first anniversary of the Brexit vote, Mr Russell said recent events have made him even more convinced Scotland should be independent. “What hasn’t changed in the last 12 months is that the Scottish Government believes – and continues to believe – that the best future for Scotland would be as an independent nation within the European Union,” he said.

Mr Russell insisted the Brexit vote on June 23 last year – in which Scotland voted by 62 per cent to remain in the EU but was outvoted by England – is not “the last word in democracy”.

“The issue of Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and elsewhere needs to be considered,” he said.

The Brexit Minister praised the Welsh Government’s Brexit and Devolution paper launched last week – which echoed the Scottish Government view that devolved powers repatriated from Brussels must be handed to the national administrations.

“It’s a good paper, I don’t agree with all of it – we would obviously talk about independence and they wouldn’t – but I think there is useful stuff in it,” he said.

The First Minister’s spokesman confirmed Ms Sturgeon is “likely” to make a statement on plans for a second independence referendum before Holyrood breaks up for the summer on June 29.