The SNP should consider the prospect of a multi-option referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future, Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn has said.
He said the possibility of having more powers for Holyrood would not be “as good an option” as independence.
His comments come ahead of a special SNP convention later this month, where the party will discuss the way forward in its push for Scottish independence.
The UK Government has consistently refused the SNP’s demands for a second independence referendum, while Labour have said they will not do a deal with Humza Yousaf’s party after the next general election.
Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, Mr Hepburn acknowledged there is no “easy or straightforward” path to independence.
He was asked about a deal with Labour which would lead to a referendum with an option for more powers as well as independence.
Mr Hepburn said: “That’s something we need to consider.
“We discussed that as a prospect in the past. Certainly when there’s been the opportunity to acquire additional responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament, we’ve supported that.
“Whether or not that’s really come to fruition as much as we might have felt it could otherwise have is another question.
“But if that was a possibility, that’s something we’d need to consider.”
During the 2014 referendum, Scots were given the option of voting Yes or No on the question of independence.
He also discussed “devo max” – the option of significant new powers for Holyrood.
Mr Hepburn said: “It could be better than the position we are in just now because it would provide us with a wider variety of fiscal levers to deal with some of the challenges we face in the country.
“But by comparison with being an independent actor on the global stage, being able to determine our own relationship with the rest of Europe, I don’t think it’s as good an option.”
The MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth was appointed to the newly-created role of Minister for Independence after Mr Yousaf became First Minister.
One of his responsibilities is publishing the prospectus papers which aim to refresh the Scottish Government’s case for independence, the last of which was released in October.