THE SCOTTISH Greens have insisted that any Holyrood majority in favour of independence is a mandate for a second referendum – rubbishing any suggestion from Alex Salmond that a ‘supermajority’ is needed.

The party’s co-leader Lorna Slater has also warned unionists that “they know a referendum is unstoppable”, adding that Boris Johnson will have no alternative but to cave to demands following May’s election.

Mr Slater said that any majority in Holyrood made up of SNP and Greens MSPs is “clearly a mandate for another referendum”, adding that “it cannot be anything else”.

She added: “The unionist parties keep hoping that this question will go away, but the truth is they cannot defend the Union, they have not got the courage of their convictions.

“They aren’t saying, let’s have a referendum, we’ll defend the Union and tell you how great it is. They are saying you can’t have a referendum and they are saying that because they know they will lose.”

The co-leader, who is standing for Holyrood in Edinburgh, added that “the Union isn’t looking good”, pointing to Brexit and fragmented relationships with China and attempts to thrash out a trade deal with the United States..

She said: “A lot of people have concerns about the direction of travel of the UK. Who are our friends? The UK is looking a little alone and friendless."

“I think it’s very reasonable that the people of Scotland are looking at all that and think ‘I think we can do better’ and can go a different way.

“I think we can be a small, independent European country and there’s no kind of exceptionalism required here. We would be like Ireland or Denmark – just an ordinary European country. I think that appeals to a lot of people.”

READ MORE: New poll shows independence question not going away as Greens surge forecast

Ms Slater also claimed that the Tories telling voters backing them is the only way to stop a second referendum “is very confused”.

She added: “If Boris Johnson really is going to refuse that, why are the Tories spending their entire campaign saying only a vote for us will stop a referendum?

“If Boris Johnson was going to stop that referendum, surely they would take that as read and then they could actually come to the electorate with some policies and a vision for Scotland. But they are not. They are coming to it saying only a vote for us can stop the referendum.

“They know a referendum is unstoppable, they know that Boris Johnson is going to have to grant it. He is Mr U-turn. He needs to think about what his Plan B is because you cannot both claim that this is a democracy and at the same time, deny a mandate like that.”

The Scottish Greens are looking at recent polling and “easily expect to have Green MSPs in every region of Scotland”, following May’s election, Ms Slater added.

The party’s co-leader said that there are fears the Alba Party sideshow is taking attention away from crucial issues such as the pandemic and the climate emergency.

READ MORE: Pro-independence supermajority 'within reach' despite Alba set to flop

She said: “The concerns is that the focus in the media is on disgruntled former first minister’s vendetta against the current First Minister instead of looking at the important issues. That does concern me.

“Am I concerned that the people of Scotland will change their vote? No.”

Ms Slater added that her party has provided “constructive opposition” to the SNP’s minority government, but has ruled out any coalition or partnership with Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

She said: “There is absolutely no basis in any chat around a coalition – it's just speculation.

"There is an enormous policy gap, particularly around the environment and oil and gas extraction and leaving things to corporations and a hand-off neo-liberal capitalism versus a much more integrated approach where government are held accountable and hold companies accountable.

“I’m not sure that gap is bridgeable but I think a minority government, where we can help hold them to account and push them in the direction we want to go is actually a really constructive relationship.

“With the Scottish Greens, there has been a pro-independence majority this last parliamentary term and with the Scottish Greens, there will be a pro-independence majority this term. How large that majority is remains to be seen.”