MHAIRI Black has told her party not to lose heart and put independence “on the backburner”.

In a rousing pep talk to the SNP conference, the young Paisley MP also savaged the UK as “economically selfish, increasingly xenophobic, cruel and reckless” and a “sinking ship”.

On the last day of the party’s first conference since it lost a third of its MPs in June, she received a standing ovation from delegates after telling them to get their chins up and fight.

She said: “Some people say we should put independence on the backburner. Why would we ever?

“We should never be scared to talk about anything in society.

“The idea that because we had one vote on the matter we can never exercise our democratic rights on the matter again is utterly ridiculous.

"We have to keep believing in ourselves. We have to be bold in our answers.

“We have to be confident in our arguments. We have to give people that vision of a better future before we can ask them to vote for it.

“So let’s get our chins up, and remember that, yes, we are up against it.

“We are up against the establishment that was once the most powerful in the world.

“You could even say that we’re up against a Goliath of sorts. But I know who won in the book I read. So let’s get out there and let’s get our independence.”

Labour called it an "embarrassing rant".

Ms Black, 23, the SNP’s pension spokesperson, also said she had been glad when Jeremy Corbyn became UK Labour leader, but had grown “so disappointed” in his performance.

She said: “I was heartened to see Jeremy Corbyn elected as leader of the Labour party because I thought ‘Finally, someone normal and sensible to work with in London’. Instead we’ve got more of the same London spin and nothing more than talking a good game.”

She cited Labour’s acceptance of Tory welfare cuts and Trident renewal as examples.

She told him: “Don’t come to Scotland like so many before you and condescend [to] us by claiming the Scottish government with 15 per cent of welfare powers can somehow undo Tory austerity when your party voted against devolving the real powers that matter.

“But most of all… don’t dare spread fear and utter drivel about an independent Scotland meaning we would suffer turbo austerity.

“I’m sick to the back teeth of British nationalists perpetuating the myth that Scotland could not afford to thrive in the world as an independent nation. Let’s be clear, Scotland is a hugely wealthy country with unbelievable potential. Google it if you don’t believe me.”

But it was her appeal to keep fighting for independence that most moved the hall in Glasgow, where the issue has been underplayed by the SNP leadership in the wake of the election losses and Nicola Sturgeon prematurely called another referendum.

She said that with the Tories overseeing a surge in food banks, poverty and the worst wage stagnation in two centuries “the real question is: can Scotland afford not to be independent?”

She said: “Some people have said that the thought of independence is scary, that the idea of stepping into the unknown is a daunting idea.

“That’s understandable. It’s our job to change that.

“I tell you what, we may not know what we’re stepping into, we might not know where we’re going, but we sure as hell know what we’re walking away from.”

To repeated applause, she said: “We were fed a pack of lies during that [2014] referendum.

“HMRC jobs would only be safe in the UK - that was a lie.

“Shipbuilding would thrive in the UK - that was a lie.

“Voting No was the only way to ensure membership of the EU - that was a lie.

“Pensions would only be safe if we voted No - that was a lie.

“That we would be treated as an equal partner, yet we’ve been ignored at every possible turn in the most arrogant of ways.

“And all the while we’re being fed cliches about you can’t eat flags. Well, you can’t eat fresh air and broken promises either.”

She went on: “The reality is that the UK is an economically selfish, increasingly xenophobic, cruel and reckless Britain. It is a sinking ship.

“Are we really saying that we won’t get on the lifeboat for fear it might not work?”

She said unshakable No voters, people “loyal and sentimental to the United Kingdom no matter what” would still be able vote No in a second referendum.

“Why should we ever fear debate and democracy in action in our country?

Independence has never been about flags, or borders, or Nationalism or thinking we’re better than anyone else. That narrative has been deliberately created to minimise the appeal of a diverse, brilliant movement that fights for our very future.

“Independence is about vision and hope. It’s about being free to build the kind of society that we want without hindrance.

The one thing that the Scottish branch of the Labour party do serve to do is to remind me every day that they are what we must never become. Let us reject the career politicians.

“Let us reject misleading Scotland to sell for less than its worth.

“Let us reject cheap slogans. Let us ensure that we are always unapologetically radical and determined and that we’ll lead the way.”

Labour MP Danielle Rowley said: "Mhairi Black's anti-austerity posturing would be a bit more credible if she once had spoken out about the £1.5bn the SNP government had cut from local services across Scotland, or effectively stood up to to plans to downgrade the Children's Ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in her own constituency.

"What this embarrassing rant reveals is that the SNP has no response to the growing number of people who see that radical change is possible within the UK with a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn."