Keith Brown said a second independence referendum was “undoubtedly ahead” when he was elected as Nicola Sturgeon’s Depute Leader.
The Economy Secretary added that he was “absolutely confident” Nicola Sturgeon will steer Scotland towards a second poll.
Mr Brown, the Economy Secretary, defeated Cllr Chris McEleny and SNP activist Julie Hepburn to become SNP Depute Leader.
The contest saw Mr Brown live up to his status as favourite after taking 55 per cent of the vote in the second round of a Single Transferable Vote.
READ MORE: Keith Brown elected as new SNP depute leader
Mr Brown will now have the responsibility of chairing a series of SNP National Assemblies debating the party’s new independence prospectus - Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission.
In his victory speech to delegates at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Mr Brown said the party had to listen to the people of Scotland to ensure that the party was ready for indyref2 when the time comes.
“Things are beginning to stir again,” Mr Brown said. “Tens of thousands of people are marching in our towns and our cities. The discussion on Scotland’s future is taking place up and down the country.
“We have seen a myriad of projects and activities, big and small, bubbling to the surface as individuals and groups come together to prepare for what is undoubtedly ahead.
“Yes groups are forming - organising and connecting and people with ideas are making them happen.”
Mr Brown said Ms Sturgeon would “bow to no-one” in her commitment to an independent Scotland.
Mr Brown said: “The decision on when the opportunity to put independence to the people of Scotland will come.
“I know that decision is in the safest of hands and I am absolutely confident that the person you have just selected me to deputise for - Nicola Sturgeon - will steer us towards that decision.”
Mr Brown called on the SNP to use the months leading up to the Brexit deal to listen to the people of Scotland “to ensure that what we do reflects that when the time comes we are ready for that decision”.
Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “I’d like to congratulate Keith Brown on his new appointment.
“It’s quite clear that the new Depute Leader of the SNP endorses Sturgeon’s constitutional obsession and will continue the campaign for a second referendum.
“With the party divided over Sturgeon’s latest plan for Independence the new Depute Leader has an unenviable job on his hands.
“It is clearer and clearer that the majority of Scots do not want another divisive referendum.”
She added: “The majority of Scots want the SNP to stop the constitutional obsession, get back to the day job and fix the health and education systems they have run into the ground.”