Theresa May’s position that now is not the time for a second independence referendum will crumble over time, Alex Salmond has said.
The former first minister said the Prime Minister’s attitude “just won’t stand” in the face of support for a second vote from the Scottish Parliament.
He also told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show there had been a “sea change” in attitudes towards Scotland throughout Europe following the 62% remain vote north of the border in the EU referendum.
Mr Salmond refused to be drawn on the possibility of an advisory independence referendum being held in Scotland if Mrs May continued to withhold the power for a second ballot, saying the strategy was up to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
But he added: “The Theresa May line - this is not the time or now is not the time - is not going to stand.
“Back in the day, I remember David Cameron telling me there wasn’t going to be a Scottish referendum but that didn’t last against the democratic wishes of the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament and neither will the Theresa May line.
“It won’t necessarily crumble today or tomorrow or next week but over the next few months that line will crumble because no British prime minister can stand against the democratic wishes.
“Even Margaret Thatcher, for goodness’ sake, was prepared to acknowledge the right of the Scottish people to exercise self determination. Self determination delayed, like justice, is self determination denied and it just won’t stand politically.
“My prediction is that the Theresa May position will crumble over time.”
Mr Salmond said recent comments from Madrid’s foreign minister Alfonso Dastis and German MEP Elmar Brok showed the “tectonic plates” had shifted in Europe in the years since Scots rejected independence in 2014.
Mr Dastis said Spain would not veto an independent Scotland’s attempts to join the European Union (EU) while Mr Brok said such a process could be relatively speedy.
“It’s a significant moment,” Mr Salmond, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, said.
“There’s been a sea change in attitudes towards Scotland.
“The British press always exaggerated the opposition to Scotland, that was part of the campaign, but there can be no mistaking now the friendship towards Scotland and the key thing of course is as Scotland has gained influence the UK Government has lost influence.
“If you’re withdrawing as the UK is from the European Union you’ve got very little credit and very little credibility across the entire continent of Europe.”
MSPs have voted by 69 to 59 in favour of seeking permission for an independence referendum to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
The Scottish Government insists a second ballot is needed to give Scots a choice between Brexit and independence, but the UK Government has said it will decline a request for the legal powers to hold it.