Stephen Flynn promises independence vote within five years if SNP win majority in Scotland

ITV News' Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith quizzes the SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn about Scottish independence as the General Election approaches.

Independence will be on the ballot paper in this election, according to the SNP's leader at Westminster.

Stephen Flynn told ITV News in an interview on Tuesday that if his party wins a majority of seats in Scotland, they will deliver another referendum on independence within the next five years.

He also said he doubts Sir Keir Starmer would follow the strategy of previous Conservative Prime Ministers in flatly rejecting the demands of the SNP if Labour wins this election.

"Of course [independence] is on the ballot paper," Mr Flynn said.

"Everyone knows what the SNP stands for. We believe in Scottish independence."

"What we will seek to do is to win a majority of seats in this election, win as many seats as we possibly can right across Scotland, and we will seek to put into effect that mandate from the Scottish people as our party policy is."

When pressed on how he would deliver this pledge, given the failures of previous SNP attempts, he said: "The difference here is we've had Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak.

"We're soon going to have a Labour Prime Minister. Are you suggesting a Labour Prime Minister is going to follow the same tact as those three individuals and deny the people of Scotland the mandate that they provide to the SNP?"

A Labour Party spokesperson told ITV News they would "flatly reject" any SNP request for another independence referendum should they win the election.

Independence has defined Scottish politics for over a decade now.

The UK Government thought 2014 referendum would settle the issue; in fact it was just the beginning for an enthused, energised generation of independence supporters.

It reached fever pitch under Nicola Sturgeon's time as leader.

The Scottish National Party has been distancing itself from the idea, previously pitched by Ms Sturgeon, that this General Election will be a "de facto referendum" on the constitutional question.

Instead, the party has focused on what it calls the "ABC" of this election: austerity, Brexit, and the cost of living crisis.

Flynn's assertions today are the most bullish the party has been in making this election about independence for Scotland.

"I believe we can be in the position where those powers [to hold a referendum] don't sit in Westminster but sit in Holyrood, and we would seek to put those powers into effect because it is the right thing to do," he told us.

Polling indicates Scotland is split almost down the middle on independence, with recent numbers putting support for Scotland leaving the UK just below 50%.

The SNP has not yet revealed its party manifesto, which is expected to be published next week.

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