A VETERAN SNP MP and a member of the party’s ruling national executive have suggested independence can be achieved without a referendum.

Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny said the SNP winning a majority of seats in a Westminster or Holyrood election would suffice.

The pair told The National they hoped to have the idea debated at the SNP’s autumn conference, despite Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly insisting that a referendum is essential.

The proposals comes after both Tory leadership contenders set their face against granting Holyrood the power to hold Indyref2 if they became Prime Minister.

READ MORE: Senior SNP figures in talks with Kremlin-linked bodies on UK tensions

Mr Hunt said he would refuse even if the SNP won an outright majority at the 2021 Holyrood election, while Boris Johnson said he could “see no case” for another vote.

The plan from Mr MacNeil and Mr McEleny is also a sign of impatience in the Yes movement at the SNP’s lack of campaigning on the issue.

Their proposal is that if the UK Government has still not agreed to a Section 30 order transfer of power by autumn 2020, a majority in the next election would be regarded as a mandate for the Scottish Government to start independence negotiations.

Mr McEleny said: “The people of Scotland have been consistently ignored by the UK Government. We want to hold a referendum to give people the choice between becoming an ordinary independent country or staying part of a UK that consistently imposes on Scotland policies and governments that we reject.

“We need a way to ensure the democratic mandate of Scotland is respected - whether Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson like it or not.”

READ MORE: SNP lodge an official complaint to Ofcom over Jeremy Vine show

Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “There is no support among Scots for an independence referendum. Now the SNP wants to break up the Union without even asking Scotland first.”

Scotland in Union campaign chief executive Pamela Nash added: “This reckless resolution from senior SNP politicians is astounding. Nicola Sturgeon must immediately rule out this irresponsible plan.”

An SNP spokesman said the party already had a “cast-iron mandate to give the people of Scotland the option of becoming independent in a referendum before the 2021 election”.

He added: “The First Minister has made clear she believes this should take place toward the latter half of next year. Support for the SNP and for independence are rising.”