Former SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan will put her plan to achieve independence without a referendum to the party's convention in Dundee tomorrow.

During the contest, the MSP described her independence mandate plan as a “voter empowerment mechanism” (VEM) that overcame what she regarded as the shortcomings in the party's preferred route via an agreed referendum with the UK Government.

Under her policy, if pro-independence parties win a majority of votes at a general election - or any subsequent election - the result would be a mandate for Edinburgh to negotiate with London on creating an independent Scotland.

She has previously denied that her strategy was a rehash of the “de facto referendum” plan that was shelved by the SNP after Nicola Sturgeon announced in February she was stepping down as leader.

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However, there are broad parallels with Ms Sturgeon's plan to use the next general election as a de facto referendum.

Under the shelved de facto plan, if 50% of voters backed the SNP at the general election, the Scottish Government would take the result as a mandate to demand negotiations with the UK Government on creating an independent Scotland.

The main point of difference is that Ms Regan's proposes that the SNP should use the VEM plan repeatedly, while Ms Sturgeon proposed using the de facto referendum just at the next general election due before the end of next year.

The Herald:

From left, Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan, pictured earlier this year at a hustings during the SNP's leadership contest.  

Ms Regan came third in the leadership contest with former finance secretary Kate Forbes second and former health secretary Humza Yousaf first. He is now first minister as well as SNP leader.

Ms Regan, the MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith, has now updated and expanded her plan which is expected to be a central point of discussion at tomorrow's meeting.

The former justice minister's proposal argues that if pro-independence parties, armed with a clear mandate for independence in their manifestos, secure over 50% of the votes in a Westminster or Holyrood election, the result will be interpreted as a clear directive from the Scottish people for independence. 

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Upon achieving this majority, the Scottish Government would immediately demand that the UK government open negotiations and appeal to the international community under the UN Charter for recognition and  support.

Ms Regan’s document also calls for the establishment of an Independence Convention and an Independence Commission, aimed at unifying the independence movement and preparing Scotland for a smooth transition to independence.

“The time has come for Scotland to move beyond dreaming of independence, and instead, establish a credible, tangible, and proactive path forward,” said Ms Regan. 

“It’s time to take control of our future and make an independent Scotland a reality for the benefit of current and future generations.”

READ MORE: Why is the SNP holding an independence convention this Saturday?

Ms Regan said her plan offers a "pragmatic, democratic, and proactive" pathway to independence, bypassing the need for a Section 30 order from the UK government. It also comes after the UK's Supreme Court ruled that Holyrood did not have the power to hold a unilateral referendum, closing that route off as an alternative to an agreed UK vote.

Her document "The Voter Empowerment Mechanism: the Responsible Route to an Independent Scotland" says that the right to a new referendum has been "persistently rebuffed by Westminster resulting in a democratic deficit that is impossible to overlook."

"The time has come for an improved approach, one that entrusts the power of self-determination directly to the Scottish people. 

"This document presents the Voter Empowerment Mechanism (VEM), a strategy proposed by Ash Regan MSP during her campaign for the SNP leadership. The VEM offers a pragmatic, democratic, and proactive pathway to 
achieving independence," it says.

"Historically, the conventional path to Scottish independence was through securing a majority of pro-independence members in parliament. 

"However, in the lead-up to the 2007 Holyrood election, the SNP introduced a new strategy. A vote for the SNP would not be interpreted as a mandate to negotiate independence, but rather as a mandate for responsible governance at Holyrood. The question of independence would be decided by a referendum, contingent on a Section 30 order from the UK government granting permission for such a vote.

"Following this strategy, the SNP won in 2007, secured a Section 30 order in 2013, and held a referendum in 2014. Despite the No vote in 2014, support for independence has grown steadily in the years since, fuelled by significant changes in circumstances, such as Brexit, and the unfulfilled promises of the No campaign. 

"However, the SNP’s continued pursuit of another referendum, hailed as the “gold standard”, has been consistently rebuffed by the UK government since 2014. This has effectively created a blockade on the path to independence via the Section 30 referendum route.

"The idea of a one-off de facto referendum, while seemingly a direct path to independence, is not a prudent approach. It puts all the chips on a single event, which can be swayed by transient factors and may not truly reflect the enduring will of the people."

The document argues that the Supreme Court's judgement "inadvertently cast a spotlight on the power of the ballot box" and clarified "that the Scottish Parliament, while empowered to legislate on a wide array of issues, does not have jurisdiction over matters of the constitution. This includes the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England." 

It goes on: "The Supreme Court further clarified that even an advisory referendum could not be held by the Scottish Government, as the outcome would have an impact on the Union."

And it says: "In conclusion, referendums are not the gold standard; the ballot box is."