A RENFREWSHIRE councillor has launched a new pro-independence party ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Andy Doig has joined forces with former SNP MSP Chic Brodie to create Scotia Future, with the party aiming to fight for both constituency and list seats next June.

Described as the party of “real independence,” it will push for Scotland to be separate from both the UK and the European Union (EU).

However, members intend to promote the idea of a Switzerland-style deal with the EU.

Switzerland is not a member state but is associated with the bloc, having adopted various provisions of EU law, in order to participate in the single market.

The party will also aim to “give power back to communities,” with the belief more major decisions should be made at local government level.

Mr Brodie, who represented South Scotland at Holyrood from 2011 to 2016, will be party leader, with Councillor Doig as nominating officer.

“Scotia Future has three key aims – real Scottish independence, economic justice and giving power back to communities,” said Councillor Doig, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Lochwinnoch and Howwood as an Independent.

“We do not just want to change flags but to change society. We seek a

Scotland of equals where merit is the gold standard and a Scotland which is a fair and enterprising country, based on co-operative principles and values.

“Centralisation is extremely damaging to communities and we believe decisions which can be taken at local level should be.

“But to safeguard this restoration of real local democracy, we seek to enshrine the principle of subsidiarity to give power back to communities.

"With the independence we seek, all parts of Scotland will have their voice heard – urban and rural.”

Scotia Future will also push for the “elimination of poverty and the creation of prosperity as twin and compatible objectives.”

Mr Brodie and Councillor Doig both quit the SNP in 2017 and have been working for more than a year to form their new party.

“We are delighted to launch Scotia Future – a party that will move Scotland

forward to real independence outwith the EU, as it has never been clearer

that devolution has had its day,” said Mr Brodie, who has previously stood as a candidate for Westminster.

“Westminster and Holyrood are broken but the only choice for Scotland is not a binary one between a dwindling voice in the UK and so-called independence in the EU. We have better options.

“Scotia Future believes in real independence. It is unwise to seek to trade Scottish sovereignty away to the pro-austerity and centralised EU before we have even gained independence. We favour a bespoke deal for Scotland with the EU, similar to that of Switzerland.”