The SNP’s Westminster leader has added to "confusion" about his party’s independence strategy after repeatedly contradicting it on TV.

Stephen Flynn twice said that if the SNP won “a majority” of Scotland’s seats at next year’s general election it would constitute a mandate for independence talks.

However last week he and Humza Yousaf co-authored a motion to the SNP conference saying the SNP only required to win “the most” seats, which could be less than half.

The Tories said Mr Flynn was "all over the place" and there was clearly "disarray" in the SNP.

SNP advisers also confirmed last week that the new threshold was a “plurality” not a majority, meaning the SNP simply winning more seats than any other party.

This was a watering down of the position in June, when the bar was a majority of seats.

The latest idea has been dismissed as “crackpot” by opposition parties, as in theory the SNP could claim it had a mandate even if it haemorrhaged support.

READ MORE: What Scotland needs now is a SNP-Labour alliance

The party won 48 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies at the 2019 election.

With boundary changes reducing the total to 57, a majority would be 29 MPs, and a plurality could be in the low 20s, around half the SNP’s 2019 tally.

SNP MP Pete Wishart also said it was not credible for the SNP to “try and assert some move towards independence if you’re not carrying the majority of people with you”.

Mr Wishart is an advocate of a de facto referendum, in which the goal would be to win a majority of votes, the plan floated by then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last year.

In their motion to conference next month, Mr Flynn and the First Minister ask delegates to agree that if the SNP “wins the most seats at the General Election in Scotland, the Scottish Government is empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country”.

This could be immediate independence talks or negotiations for a second referendum, although both Labour and the Tories have already ruled these out.  

Interviewed on the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Mr Flynn was asked: “If the majority of people in Scotland vote for parties that don't support independence, how is that a mandate for independence?”

Mr Flynn replied: “What we're saying quite clearly is that in a Westminster context it’s done by proportionality of seats. 

“So we’re saying if we win a majority of seats, which I'm very confident that we will in the general election next year, then that'll be a mandate for us to give democratic effect to independence.”

Ms Ridge queried the comment: “You’re saying the most seats not a majority, isn’t it?”

Mr Flynn replied: “Yes, of course. Now if the UK Government wants to come to us and say, Well, that's fine, you can have your independence, I'd love that.

“What I would expect to happen is for them to come to the table to have that grown up democratic discussion about how we empower the people of Scotland to determine their own future. 

“Now that may well be a transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood to hold an independence referendum, that may or may well be just agreeing to an independence referendum.

“But, you know, when it comes to this big constitutional issue, I think the question must be for the Labour Party and the Conservatives, at what point are they going to allow the people of Scotland to determine their own future?”

The Aberdeenshire South MP then repeated his “majority” comment.

He said: “What we would be standing on is winning the majority of seats and as I say, I'm very confident that we would do that. 

“We would seek to give implementation to our manifesto on that basis.”

The Herald FMQs sketch: Stand-in ovation

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Humza Yousaf has moved the goalposts so many times that his own politicians don’t know what game they’re supposed to be playing anymore.

“What’s even more remarkable is that Stephen Flynn signed the motion with Humza, but clearly doesn’t understand the proposal himself.

“This confusion in the SNP is a reflection of the party’s worsening poll ratings, but these attempts to gameplay the next election are nothing short of dangerous.

“Voters must be able to express their views on all important issues at the forthcoming election, including improving energy costs and security, boosting the economy and creating jobs, and addressing the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s time for the people’s priorities, not the SNP’s.”

Tory MSP Donald Cameron aded: “Stephen Flynn is all over the place on a motion he put his name to.

“He has openly contradicted his own independence plan which speaks volumes about the confusion and disarray within the SNP.

“The reality is that Scots have roundly rejected the plans that have been set out by the SNP’s Westminster leader and Humza Yousaf. They have no desire for the nationalists to turn the next General Election into a de facto referendum.

“Instead of getting muddled around his independence obsession, Stephen Flynn should be spending his time focusing on Scotland’s real priorities such as the cost-of-living crisis, and reducing NHS waiting times.”

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine added: "Stephen Flynn seems to be as baffled as the average Scot is about what his own party's policy actually is.

"No one believes the SNP's wacky plans will lead to a mandate for the break-up of the UK.

"Rather than banging on about independence, he should be focused on helping the hundreds of thousands of Scots on NHS waiting lists and tackling the soaring cost of living."