Humza Yousaf has been mocked by opponents after appearing to get his own party’s policy on achieving independence wrong.

In an interview with STV, he said winning the most seats in Scotland would be a mandate for the SNP to start negotiations with the UK Government.

However, the resolution backed by delegates at his party’s conference last October was that this would only happen if they won a majority of seats, rather than just at least one more than the next largest party.

READ MORE: SNP members back 'majority of seats' independence strategy

Speaking to Scotland Tonight, Mr Yousaf said: “If we win the general election, that's my goal, of course, to win the general election in Scotland, is use that as a mandate to begin negotiating with a future UK Government on how we give democratic effect to independence.”

Asked if that meant winning a majority, the First Minister replied: “Winning in Scotland means most seats. That's what our conference backed in October last year.”

When asked what he meant by most and if he meant a majority, Mr Yousaf replied: “A majority and most seats are different.”

He added: “I think most people understand the most means that you're going to win the general election.”

Asked if he would still be entitled to start negotiations even if the SNP fall short of a majority, Mr Yousaf said “The rule is pretty simple. The winner of the general election is the one that wins the most seats, so we intend to win the most seats.”

Currently, the SNP holds 48 of the 59 Scottish constituencies.

Boundary changes mean there will 57 seats after the election, and a majority would be reached if they win 29.

Asked if he would continue as leader even if he had lost 19 seats, Mr Yousaf told STV: "Yes, because we would have just won a general election in Scotland.

"I don’t know any other political leader who would win a general election and people would question whether they would be leader.

"My intention is to win that general election and the way we do that is with a really simple message - if you want Scotland’s voice to be heard by the Westminster establishment you have to vote for the SNP."

READ MORE: Explained: SNP independence strategy adopted at conference

Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy said: “Humza Yousaf and the SNP have made it abundantly clear they wish to turn the General Election into a proxy vote on independence.

“However, their plans are so extreme that the party’s own leader cannot even accurately tell Scots what he believes would give him a mandate to enter negotiations on breaking up the United Kingdom.

“The one thing Humza Yousaf is clear on is that their independence obsession will always be the number one priority for the SNP – and they are prepared to say anything to achieve it.”

Alba Party General Secretary Chris McEleny said: “The SNP now have a Rubik’s cube independence strategy. It has so many different aspects, caveats and explanations that even Humza Yousaf cannot remember what it is.

“Now that the consented referendum policy that served the national movement well previously has been blocked as a result of the ill-fated venture to the UK Supreme Court, Alba Party believes that every election must be used as a mandate for Scottish independence.

"And further the referendum proposed by Ash Regan on independence powers for the Scottish Parliament can get us past the constitutional roadblock.”