RENFREWSHIRE South candidate Andy Doig has vowed to push for independence negotiations to begin immediately if he is elected as an MSP.

The Independent councillor has said his Scotia Future party would get behind a post-election motion calling for dialogue to begin with the UK Government straight away, which Alex Salmond’s Alba party has indicated it would bring to the table if any of its candidates secure a seat.

Mr Doig is standing on the constituency ballot alongside Scotia Future leader Chic Brodie, who is bidding to take the Ayr seat. Both politicians are also running in the regional list vote.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed she would instruct SNP MSPs not to vote for an immediate referendum push and would instead place her initial focus on recovery from the pandemic if she is re-elected.

But Mr Doig insisted this proves the Nationalists are not serious about breaking away from the UK.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s reluctance begs real questions about the SNP’s commitment to independence these days,” said the elected member, who currently represents Johnstone North and surrounding villages on Renfrewshire Council.

“The tragic irony here is, in the late 1980s, Margaret Thatcher as prime minister accepted the legitimacy of a nationalist parliamentary mandate for independence, yet now we seem to have an SNP leader saying a nationalist majority in Holyrood in 2021 is not enough.

"She is definitely not serious about independence.

“Scotia Future would support a motion calling for independence negotiations to begin in the event of a pro-indy majority.”

Ms Sturgeon has previously suggested her preference would be to ask the UK Government to agree to a Section 30 order – which would allow the Scottish Government to launch an independence referendum with Westminster’s blessing – rather than initiate any so-called “wildcat” ballot.

But Mr Doig has said this would not be the only way to secure a legal and binding referendum.

He added: “A Section 30 is not the only democratic route to independence. Part 1, Article 1, of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), which the UK has signed, would underpin the validity of a nationalist parliamentary majority in international law.”

Mr Doig is up against Tom Arthur (SNP), Derek Stillie (Scottish Conservatives), Paul O’Kane (Scottish Labour) and Christine Cosh (Scottish Liberal Democrats) in the Renfrewshire South poll.

The result of tomorrow's vote is expected to be declared at Braehead Arena on Saturday afternoon.