This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

It hasn't been widely reported but a group of very senior figures in the SNP put forward an alternative independence plan this week.

The proposal has been drawn up by parliamentarians including figures as diverse as the MPs Joanna Cherry, Pete Wishart, Douglas Chapman and the MSPs former national treasurer Colin Beattie and James Dornan.

They want the party to debate their plan at its annual conference in October and have submitted the details to its conferences committee which has listed it as a resolution on the SNP's draft agenda for the autumn meeting in Aberdeen.

There was some confusion over the proposition unveiled by First Minister Humza Yousaf on June 24 with parts of his speech on the route to independence open to different interpretations.

In his address Mr Yousaf argued that the next general election, expected in 2024, should be used as a way of advancing the independence case and that a vote for the SNP would be taken as a vote for independence.

The next Westminster election will be pivotal in seeking talks with the UK Government on giving "democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent nation", he told SNP members at Dundee's Caird Hall.

"In that manifesto – page one, line one – I am proposing that we put a simple powerful statement to the people: Vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country."

He added: "And if the SNP does win this election then the people will have spoken. We will seek negotiations with the UK Government on how we give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent nation... If we win the General Election, we will take that mandate from the people and ensure we as a government are ready to negotiate our independence."

People were unclear on two things. What would count as a winning threshold? And what action would the party take should it win?

Was the First Minister supporting or not the de facto referendum plan set out by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon? Both Pete Wishart and the defeated SNP leadership contender Ash Regan thought the de facto plan was back on the table.

The points were clarified by the FM when he spoke to journalists after his speech saying his "preferred option" was that winning a majority of seats would count as a victory. In that respect he differed from Ms Sturgeon who had previously said a win would be a majority of votes (ie more than 50%).

He also appeared to distance himself from the de facto referendum idea arguing that his Plan A continued to be an independence referendum (following the same process agreed by the UK and Scottish Governments which led up to the 2014 vote).

The First Minister told reporters he did not favour the de facto referendum "because if you want to test a proposition for popular support, you do that through a referendum".

Essentially, the strategy appeared to be a return to Ms Sturgeon's original Plan A approach with election success meaning putting pressure on whichever party is in Downing Street after the election to agree to a new referendum.

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The new proposal put down by the five parliamentarians and others is certainly less ambivalent.

It contends that "if the SNP and other pro-independence parties secure 50% +1 of votes cast in a national election then that constitutes a mandate for Scotland to become an independent country with immediate effect".

And it goes on to say that if the UK Government "does not meaningfully engage with the Scottish Government" on independence within 90 days of election day, then the party would withdraw its MPs from Westminster and convene a National Assembly to take forward the establishment of Scotland as an independent nation.

The resolution explains the National Assembly would include all MSPs, Scottish MPs, and representatives from Scottish civic society.

READ MORE: Analysis: Is Yousaf's indy strategy just a SNP damage limitation plan?

It also states what would happen in the event the SNP and other pro-independence parties do not secure 50% +1 of votes cast – saying this would effectively amount to a vote to remain in the Union and the proposal would be put to voters again at the following election.

Mr Wishart told Unspun he had decided to back the plan as there was an imperative for the SNP to do "something different" as he believed that neither a Tory or Labour UK government would agree to a second independence referendum.

The Herald:

The proposition by the MPs and MSPs is of course unchartered territory with big risks attached.

Yes of course a decision by the SNP to pull its MPs out of Westminster would create an almighty shock in the UK and indeed further field. The threat ramps up the constitutional stakes on both sides of the debate and could help to pile pressure on London to consent to indyref2.

But what if a Tory or Labour PM – Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer – simply shook his head and dismissed those "angry nats in the north"?

And what would happen when the shockwave subsided, as these things tend to do? Would the UK simply get used to SNP MPs not taking their seats in the same way that Sinn Fein MPs don't? Could the SNP end up losing influence with support moving to other parties who do take their seats and who could be therefore regarded by voters as more relevant to vote for?

Or alternatively, could it create an upsurge in support for the SNP and independence with soft Yessers returning to the fold in outrage over the UK Government's refusal to grant indyref2?

These are the issues SNP members will be weighing up, discussing and voting on in October should the resolution be accepted for debate. Given the seniority of the parliamentarians behind the plan, that looks extremely likely.

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