SCOTLAND should get ready to face another independence referendum as soon as next year, an SNP deputy leadership hopeful has said.

James Dornan said politics had “never been more volatile”, with circumstances changing almost every day.

The Glasgow Cathcart MSP said it would be of “maximum benefit” to hold a second referendum in 2019 or 2020, close to the next Scottish election.

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He said he was “not convinced” the reason party lost so many seats at last year’s Westminster election was because it put another referendum back on the table.

Mr Dornan is so far the only SNP politician to put his name forward for the party’s deputy leadership position following the resignation of Angus Robertson, but at least eight others are thought to be considering it.

These include Westminster leader Ian Blackford, his deputy Kirsty Blackman, SNP frontbenchers Dr Philippa Whitford and Joanna Cherry, and long-serving MP Pete Wishart.

Tommy Sheppard MP has also emerged as a potential frontrunner, while Livingston MP Hannah Bardell said she was giving it “serious consideration”. Glasgow Provan MSP Ivan McKee is another named by party insiders.

Nominations will open next month, before the new deputy is announced at the SNP’s Aberdeen conference in June.

Mr Dornan told Scotland on Sunday that pushing for independence would be “crucial” to his campaign.