A RENFREWSHIRE MP has claimed “there could be mileage” in a consultative referendum on independence if Boris Johnson does not grant an official one.

Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black made the comments in the Sunday Times as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gets set to lay out the next steps towards a fresh ballot.

The SNP leadership has consistently stressed it does not support an unofficial independence vote and Ms Black has become the most senior figure to give some authority to the idea.

An unofficial referendum would be open to a legal challenge. 

She told the newspaper: “There could be mileage in a consultative referendum because the Scottish question is complicated.

“The current United Kingdom government position is weak and unsustainable, and if the last five years proves anything, it proves that what happens at Westminster is unpredictable.”

Ms Black added her preference would be to do the next referendum “by the book” and that an official referendum would ensure international recognition.

She accepted a vote "would then no doubt be challenged in the UK Supreme Court and the Supreme Court would have to make a decision."

Black also said that she would support a referendum on whether Scotland should retain the monarch saying: Personally I'm not a monarchist, I've always been a republican and I would like to think there is a majority of Scots who take that view. Why is there a single family we all have to fork out for?"

Ms Sturgeon today refused to support her party’s Scotland spokesperson over a possible wildcat independence referendum, however. 

The First Minister said there was a “need for any process on independence to be legal”.

Asked if she agreed with Ms Black, Ms Sturgeon twice declined to say that she did.

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