THE SNP must make the case for socialism if it is to win independence.

Chris Stephens, a frontbench SNP Westminster MP, claims the party must adopt a more left-wing and radical agenda if it is to win back votes which went to Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

Stephens said his party must "update our offer" if it is to fare better than last month's General Election when it lost 21 seats. He said the SNP had to "generate enthusiasm for independence" by embracing a more radical approach.

Stephens, the Glasgow South West MP, was re-elected by a wafer thin majority of just 60 over Labour.

"In Glasgow South West, we campaigned to re-elect a left-wing, anti-austerity candidate," he said. The party leadership now had to adopt that approach to build the independence movement, he added.

Stephens makes the claims in Scottish Left Review, which is published later this week.

He argues that independence supporters switched from SNP to back Corbyn despite the Unionist-centred campaign run by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Stephens said: “There were two Labour campaigns in Scotland – one led by Dugdale, the other promoting Jeremy Corbyn and his anti-austerity message and the latter only kicked in towards the end of the campaign but was sufficient to attract enough indy left supporters to switch to Labour that cut majorities and cost my party seats.

"The brutal reality is that no matter who the Labour candidate was, in certain constituencies many people were voting for Corbyn. Even if the candidate had signed a letter calling for Corbyn to go, and even where a candidate had consistently voted for outsourcing and privatisation as a councillor, that didn’t matter."

He added: “What we have learned is that in British General Elections we must update our offer into a radical and bold vision of what we can do at Westminster." He claimed that such an approach would help the SNP to promote a progressive case for independence.

He also believes the SNP should focus on making the case for independence rather than getting clogged up in the referendum process.

"Our opponents’ biggest mistake is to say this was a setback for independence," he said. "Independence support still remains consistently higher than support for a referendum."

The lack of an overall majority for any party at Westminster made it easier for the SNP to promote a radical agenda, he claims.

"Returning to a parliament of minorities, the opportunities for MPs like myself are limitless and this should now be the

justice parliament. This parliament should pursue fair rights at work to be protected in the Brexit process.

"And, we need to make the case for socialism and social protection in a Scottish context and need to do more to communicate what we can do if given the opportunity."