The SNP could take the UK government to court following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s refusal to grant a second independence referendum.
Mr Johnson responded to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s request for a section 30 order – which would grant the Scottish Parliament the legal ability to call for a second vote on independence in six years – with a refusal.
He said Scotland had chosen to remain part of the UK in 2014, in what was a “once in a generation” ballot.
QC Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP who was involved in taking the previous UK government to the supreme court over Brexit, said litigation was not a “shortcut” to independence.
She said: “The no from Johnson was expected. Now the SNP, together with the independence movement must advance a multi-faceted strategy to defeat this anti-democratic approach and secure Scotland’s right to choose a different constitutional future and a positive outcome.
“Ideas such as (a) constitutional convention should not be dismissed by those desperate for action or those overly conservative in approach.
“We should embrace them and we should heed the lessons of the history of constitutional change in Scotland.
“There is no shortcut to an independent Scotland through litigation although the courts may play a role in determining the limits of Holyrood’s powers.
“Ultimately the answer lies in political strategy and reaching out beyond the political tribes.”
Mr Johnson said: “The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made to them.
“For that reason I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.
“Another independence referendum would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.
“It is time that we all worked to bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country.”
Ms Sturgeon, who sent her request in December, said the Tories were “terrified” of Scotland having a say on its future.
She said: “They know that given the choice the overwhelming likelihood is that people will choose the positive option of independence.
“The Tories – and their allies in the leaderships of Labour and the Lib Dems – lack any positive case for the union so all they can do is try to block democracy.
“It shows utter contempt for the votes, views and interests of the people of Scotland and it is a strategy that is doomed to failure. ”
“It is not politically sustainable for any Westminster Government to stand in the way of the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future and to seek to block the clear democratic mandate for an independence referendum.
“The problem for the UK Government is that the longer they try to block a referendum, the more they demonstrate that the Westminster union is not a partnership of equals and the more support for independence will grow.”
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP and Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for the constitution Alex Rowley said: “The immediate priority for both the Prime Minister and the First Minister should be minimising the damage caused by Brexit.
“There are conversations to be had in the future about other issues, but at the moment the focus should be on protecting Scotland’s interests in the face of our imminent exit from the EU.”
Leader Richard Leonard advocated for Home Rule, adding: “Scotland and the whole UK are deeply unequal societies which desperately need radical change. But the Tories are hell-bent on destroying what is left of the welfare state, and the SNP are advocating a decade of cuts in a separate Scottish state.
“The people of Scotland rejected independence in 2014, but Scotland remains divided. I believe that Home Rule within the UK is the only viable option that stands a chance of healing the divisions in our society. We can’t wait for a UK Labour government to deliver this, so we must demand it now and mobilise for radical change.”