SCOTS could get a vote on whether or not to keep King Charles III or his successors as head of state if the country becomes independent, according to the latest Scottish Government paper outlining the case for independence.

The new document was published today and puts forward the case why Scotland should have a written constitution in line with the 27 members of the European Union and other states around the world.

Under the plan set out in the paper a vote for independence would see the Scottish Parliament develop an interim constitution.

After independence, a constitutional convention would be established to develop a permanent written constitution, with this to be considered by Holyrood and also put to the people in a referendum.

Unveiling the paper this morning in Glasgow, First Minister Humza Yousaf said such a document could protect workers' rights to strike and guarantee healthcare that is "free at the point of need".

He also made clear the Scottish Government would want a new constitution for the country "to rule out Scotland being a home for nuclear weapons".

The paper sets out that among the matters under discussion during the constitutional convention would be whether Scotland should continue to have a monarchy as the head of state or whether the role should be an elected one.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf sets out plans for 'constitution built by the people'

The policy paper stated: "It is the Scottish Government's policy that independence in itself would not result in a change to the Head of State, and that initially an independent Scotland would remain a constitutional monarchy. 

"This would be the case for as long as the people of Scotland wish to retain the monarchy. The Scottish Government believes that the Constitutional Convention is the appropriate place to consider other models for the Head of State of an independent country."

Speaking to journalists after launching the document the First Minister was asked if the process would mean Scots being given a vote on keeping King Charles as head of state.

The Herald: First Minister Humza Yousaf unveiling a new paper in the independence prospectus series

First Minister Humza Yousaf at a press conference in Glasgow today to unveil the new paper in the independence series.  Photo PA.

Mr Yousaf replied: "Hypothetically, that is what our constitutional convention seeks to do. I am not going to prejudge what our constitutional convention will say or what it will do.

"But it could look at and probably will look at whether we have the right model as regards head of state. The permanent constitution proposal would be put to people in a referendum."

The policy marks a change from the Scottish Government's position ahead of the referendum in September 2018 when it supported keeping the monarchy as head of state under independence and did not offer the prospect of a vote on whether the historical arrangement should be kept.

During the SNP leadership contest Mr Yousaf said he favoured an elected head of state over a monarch and was today asked for his personal preference in light of the publication of the policy paper.

He said: "The interim constitution is about providing on day one of independence that stability that's needed so we would continue as a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy.

"It would then be for the constitutional convention who will be given the responsibility of drafting a permanent written constitution to consider what the model should be for the head of state. I think that's not a discussion I would like to preempt in terms of the constitutional convention."

A poll by Lord Ashcroft of voters in March found that 44 per cent of Scots would back an elected head of state with 37 per cent wanting to keep the monarchy if Scotland became independent.

By helping enhance and protect important rights, it will make a genuine and significant difference to people's lives," he said.

In his speech unveiling the paper, Mr Yousaf said having a written constitution "is not abstract" but "fundamental to people's lives right now."

He told how the future document would "embody a set of longer-term, more fundamental values about what a country is for" and set out a "common understanding of a nation's priorities", as well creating a "standard below which no government should ever fall".

He added: "In the context of the Westminster system, these proposals do sound radical."

With the UK not having a written constitution in place - something Mr Yousaf said made the country a "global outlier" - he claimed Westminster could abolish the Scottish Parliament, which has been in place since 1999.

He said: "That's not an abstract concept - it is worth remembering the UK Government is already seriously considering the repeal of the Human Rights Act, one of the most significant achievements of any UK Parliament in the last 30 years.

"In future, Westminster sovereignty could even allow the UK Parliament to repeal devolution through nothing other than a simple majority vote."

However, it is unclear how the Scottish Government can pursue its ambition to create an independent Scotland with the UK Government opposed to an agreed referendum, as happened in 2014m and the Supreme Court ruling last year that Holyrood has not got the power to hold a vote unilaterally.

The SNP will meet on Saturday in Dundee to debate a way forward to achieve independence, though no vote will take place at the gathering to decide on the policy which would be a matter for the party's annual conference in the autumn.

It is unclear whether the First Minister wants to use the next general election as a de facto independence referendum as his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon had planned.

"As much as I would like to give you all the detail I think it is right that I engage with our members at the event on the 24th [June]. I will certainly outline what our preferred approach is given Westminster's continued denial of a Section 30 referendum," Mr Yousaf told reporters in a press conference after his speech.

"I will outline how we should use the general election to further the cause of independence...We will seek to advance the cause of independence through a general election and I will give more detail on that."

Scottish Conservative shadow constitution secretary Donald Cameron accused the First Minister of pushing an anti-monarchist agenda.

 “Humza Yousaf has once again used his push for independence to shamelessly pander to the anti-monarchists within his party," he said.

“The monarchy remains one of our most loved and respected institutions in Scotland as we saw with the celebrations for King Charles’ coronation as well as the outpouring of grief when Her Majesty passed away last year.

“By once again talking up scrapping a symbol of the United Kingdom as part of a push for a further referendum, it looks as though Humza Yousaf is aiming to divide people more than Nicola Sturgeon did.

“Rather than talking up the prospect of scrapping the monarchy, he should be focusing on Scotland’s real priorities such as the cost-of-living crisis and fixing our NHS.”

Scottish Labour constitution spokesperson Neil Bibby said Mr Yousaf had been "indulging in the same old constitutional pipe-dreams" at the same time Sir Keir Starmer had been in Scotland to unveil Labour plans to "transform Scotland's economy and lead the way in the transition to clean energy".

Mr Bibby added: "Humza Yousaf may say that he wants to enshrine the NHS in the constitution, but under his watch our NHS is on its knees.

"Humza Yousaf claims he wants to protect the rights of islanders, but his Government can't even sort out the ferries.

"Humza Yousaf says he wants to defend local government, but his party and Greens have cut council budgets year after year."

The Labour MSP said the "SNP resort to pipe-dreams as the country crumbles under their watch".