PATRICK Harvie has insisted a second referendum is the only way to secure independence.

The Scottish Greens co-leader said winning an election is not enough, but argued the UK Government would be showing “utter contempt” if it continued to block another vote.

It comes after a bid by two SNP politicians to open up an alternative route to independence.

Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny have said a “Plan B” is needed if Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to hand over the power to hold another referendum.

READ MORE: Scottish Greens elect Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as co-leaders 

They argue a simple election win could be used as a mandate for ending the Union.

Under this plan, negotiations would be triggered if pro-independence SNP and Green candidates won a majority of seats at the next Westminster or Holyrood election. This is not supported by the SNP leadership.

Mr Harvie and Lorna Slater – a former candidate in the European elections – were announced as the new co-leaders of the Scottish Greens at an event in Edinburgh yesterday.

Speaking to journalists afterwards, Mr Harvie said a pro-independence majority at the next Holyrood election would “certainly [be] enough to say there should be a referendum but a referendum is the only mandate for independence”.

He added: “I don’t think any political party should say if we win an election, Scotland should become independent.

“But I think that any UK government that explicitly rejected the democratic mandate of the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum would be showing utter contempt to the people of Scotland.”

The Glasgow MSP said Scots must be given the “final say” on which union is more important to them – the United Kingdom or the European Union.

He added: “I think the opportunity to be an independent European Union country is the future path Scotland will ultimately be on.”

Mr Harvie also insisted Mr Johnson “is not someone who can be expected to be consistent on this, even his predecessor Theresa May said there was no way there’d be a snap election and then she called one”.

Elsewhere, he said Green voices are more important than ever as Scotland faces up to a climate emergency.

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie: Disrespect shown to Scotland is reason enough to push for independence 

He said: “The science is clear - we have just over a decade to transform our economy for the better and avert an existential crisis, but the other parties are happy to carry on with business as usual.

“Greens have been leading the change by fighting for and winning a fairer income tax system, meaning most Scots pay less that their UK counterparts, and those who can afford it pay a bit more, we’ve delivered hundreds of millions for local services across the country and initiated a process to scrap the hated Tory council tax.”

A new constitution adopted at the Scottish Greens’ spring conference this year led to the party’s co-convener roles being dropped to be replaced by co-leader positions.

Under rules set out by the party, at least one of the co-leaders must be a woman.

The leaders were elected for a two-year term, which will include the next Holyrood election.

They will act as chief spokespeople and be responsible for the political leadership of the party.

Maggie Chapman, who was previously a party co-convener alongside Mr Harvie, was unsuccessful in her bid to keep the top job.

Ms Slater, an engineer originally from Canada, said she looked forward to contributing her expertise in marine renewable energy and manufacturing “to our proposal for a Scottish Green New Deal”.

She said: “Scotland has significant renewable resources such as wind and tidal energy, we have the manufacturing and offshore infrastructure to become a powerhouse of clean energy generation.

“We can ensure everyone lives in a warm home which they can afford to heat and invest in reopening rail links and stations as part of a transport vision fit for the 21st century.

“We already have the skills and resources to transform our economy, tackle the climate emergency and create thousands of quality jobs along the way, and I’ll work to deliver that transformation in the coming years.”