An SNP MP has warned his party will be rejected by voters if it tries to “bounce” the country into a second independence referendum.

Defence spokesman Stewart McDonald also said it would be the “height of irresponsibility” to try and rehash the Yes campaign of 2014, and its tenor needed to “utterly change”.

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He said the SNP still had to renew its case for leaving the UK, and should rethink its past assertion that independence could be delivered within 18 months of a Yes vote.

His warnings come amid splits in the Yes movement - including among SNP politicians - about the timing of another referendum.

SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has called for a fresh vote this year, while former SNP MP George Kerevan has urged civil disobedience and blockading the London Underground to secure another referendum.

However on the Not Another Fake Newscast podcast, Mr McDonald said the time was not right, not least because of the chaos over Brexit, and he took a “softy, slowly viewpoint”.

He said: “If we force a question in front of people while all this [Brexit] is going on, I don’t think the people would thank us.

“It’s clear from the general election we had in 2017, if we try and bounce it on folk, they’ll reject us. I don’t see how that helps the Scottish independence movement.

"We’ve got to learn from our own mistakes, and it was quite clear from... 2017 that the prospect of a referendum on independence coming any time soon was not one that the public relished.”

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The Glasgow South MP, whose constituency partly overlaps Nicola Sturgeon’s seat at Holyrood, said the SNP had to take a different approach to another referendum.

He said: “I think the Yes campaign [of 2014] was a good campaign, but it didn’t win. So it’s only right we think about how do we redo this.

“People have to see that we’ve gone away and thought about it.

“It has to look, sound and feel differently in my view, not just to people we’re trying to persuade, but to people who we will want to go sell this stuff on the doors as well.

“It would be the height of irresponsibility to ask Yes supporters to go and sell what we were trying to sell in 2014, or even that case with some tinkering around the edges. I don’t think that would motivate people because we would end up with largely the same result.”

He said the campaign should be “big-hearted, seen to be open with the people who did not support us last time round - utterly change the tenor of the campaign to show that”.

He said the SNP should learn the lessons of Brexit and plan how to unite Scotland in the event of a Yes vote to avoid the bitter splits in society seen over Europe.

He suggested a “government of national unity” during the transition phase in which all Holyrood’s parties took part on equal terms.

He said: “Independence doesn’t belong to the independence movement. If Scotland votes Yes, we need everybody to put their shoulder to the wheel the next day.

“One of the things you could say ahead of a referendum is that - and I’m thinking here of what we can learn from Brexit - is we’d have a government of national unity over the transition period.

“I remember after the Brexit vote going down to London and I saw a young girl with a sign outside parliament that said ‘I want my country back’.

“There will be people who will feel that if Scotland votes for independence, and as the national party of Scotland we have a responsibility to make sure our own citizens don’t feel alienated just because they voted differently to us.”

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said: "Mr McDonald is absolutely correct in his suggestion that the people of Scotland don’t want another independence referendum.

“Unfortunately, the rest of his party – particularly Nicola Sturgeon – don’t share that view.

“She should listen to one of the more sensible voices in her party, then take the threat of a divisive re-run off the table altogether.”

Scotland in Union boss Pamela Nash added: "It is right for Mr McDonald to acknowledge that now is not the time for another referendum, and the deficiencies in 2014’s Yes campaign. 

“The SNP will find it difficult to build a new campaign for Scotland to leave when the case for breaking up the UK is weaker than ever.

"Brexit is demonstrating just how difficult and damaging it is to leave a political union.

“Rather than focus on campaigning for a divisive referendum that people don’t want, the SNP should put its shoulder to the wheel to fix our hospitals, schools and railways.”

The SNP’s previous White Paper on independence said Scotland would be ready to leave the UK in some 18 months after a Yes vote.

However Kevin Pringle, a former special adviser to Alex Salmond, recently said that timing was no longer tenable given the delays seen in Brexit and the devolution of social security.