Keith Brown, who has been tasked by party leader Nicola Sturgeon with increasing support for independence, told activists that the Yes campaign ‘shouldn’t be willing to anticipate a refusal of a Section 30 order as a reason not to call a referendum.’
A Section 30 order would be required if the Scottish Government is to be given the legal power to hold a referendum, as it was in the build up to the 2014 vote.
Theresa May has indicated that any attempt to seek a Section 30 order would be refused out of hand by her Government.
In comments first reported by the Scottish Sun, Mr Brown added: “If we want to have a referendum, then we decide we’re going to have a referendum.
“But there is a worry - I know Nicola’s concerned with the fact - that the arguments over a Section 30 can start to dissipate the support for independence. So that’s a worry as well.
“So, there’s all these kind of judgements, but, and the other point of course to make is that we have a mandate.”
The comments were made to an audience from ‘The Aberdeen Independence Movement’.
Nicola Sturgeon announced a ‘pause’ in her plans for a second referendum after the SNP suffered setbacks at the 2017 general election, with the Scottish Conservatives cashing in thanks to an anti-referendum platform.
However, as Brexit chaos has increased, Ms Sturgeon has said that a new plan to hold a referendum will be announced in the first half of 2019.
Interim Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw told the paper that the report showed Nicola Sturgeon was ‘plotting an illegal referendum’.