Scotland's First Minister says the SNP will have to take the argument of Scottish Independence 'to the doorstep' to win over people in the South of Scotland.
Humza Yousaf was addressing party members in Dumfries, as part of a tour of Regional Assemblies across Scotland.
He told ITV News: "The only way we will win our independence is by taking our argument doorstep to doorstep. There's no shortcut.
"That is the way we're going to win our independence, it's the way we're going to increase support for independence and having a room full of hundreds of activists who are raring to go, making sure that they've got the winning arguments in their hands, that's the way we're going to win independence."
The First Minister told the audience that support for independence had never been stronger despite "some of the most difficult weeks and months in our party's history" as he praised Nicola Sturgeon.
He said, "Independence is now closer than it ever has been.
"This is a journey that did not begin with you and I. It has been going on not for decades but for hundreds of years. We may not have begun it but by God we should finish the job."
“The more likely we are to win the referendum, the less likely they are to give it to us,” he said, speaking of the UK Government.
Latest opinion polling shows that a 'No' vote is maintaining a narrow but steady lead, with support for independence averaging at around 48%.
At the event, the Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn acknowledged that the South of Scotland had historically been a difficult place for the SNP to make in-roads.
The Scottish Conservatives, who are in opposition in the Scottish Parliament, maintain that a second referendum on Scottish independence is not in the country's best interests.
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