The SNP needs to learn from Joe Biden as the party attempts to win a second independence referendum, Scottish Constitution Secretary Mike Russell has said.
Mr Russell said there was a “lesson to be taken” from the US president-elect’s behaviour when faced with Donald Trump’s claims the election had been rigged.
It comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists he will not grant the Scottish Government the power to hold another vote on the issue – even if the SNP wins a majority in next May’s Holyrood elections.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted that “it is not for Boris Johnson to stand in the way of people choosing their future”.
She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show she would use the election to ask Scots “for their authority for a legal referendum”.
The SNP leader insisted: “With the greatest of respect, that’s the democratic argument and it is not for Boris Johnson to stand in the way of people choosing their future.”
Mr Russell meanwhile told the SNP annual conference that Mr Biden had won the US presidency because of his “confident and flawless commitment to the democratic process”.
The Scottish Constitution Secretary said: “There is a lesson to be taken from Joe Biden.
“Confronted with anti-democratic ravings from Donald Trump he didn’t match them with threats, or lawsuits.
“He matched them with a confident and flawless commitment to the democratic process. And that ensured his success.”
That was echoed by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who told the conference that what happened in the US had shown that “democracy deniers are destined for only one thing – defeat”.
Mr Blackford insisted: “We will remain calm, clear headed and confident. Because we are wise enough to know what ultimately happens to those who rage against democracy.”
They spoke out as the SNP conference overwhelmingly backed a resolution making clear that “independence is about the right of people in Scotland to decide our own future”.
The resolution, passed by 1,204 votes for to 262 against at the virtual conference, added that there had been a “material change in circumstances since 2014” – when Scots voted to remain in the UK.
However, SNP activist Michael Cameron hit out: “This motion is a poor substitute for proper debate, with nothing in it that can be opposed by any member.”
Some within the SNP are campaigning for the party to adopt a ‘Plan B’ for independence, in the wake of continued refusals from Mr Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May for a second referendum to be held.
SNP MP Angus MacNeil wants for next May’s Scottish elections to be a “de-facto referendum on independence” – saying that if there is an SNP victory this could be taken as a mandate to start negotiations for the country to leave the UK.
The Western Isles MP said: “As early as May next year we can ask people in Scotland if they want to be independent and Boris Johnson can’t do a thing to block them having that choice.”
He insisted: “This opportunity at an election is the most legally recognised opportunity we have in sight for potentially some time to come.”
But Mr Russell urged the party to show a “unity of purpose” in pursuit of a referendum.
He said the SNP needed to “demonstrate an unshakable belief in the right of the Scottish people to choose how they are governed and by whom”.
He stressed the party must “not be tempted by that particularly Scottish trait of rushing to a glorious defeat”.
Mr Russell also warned that continuing to veto requests for a second referendum would have “consequences” for the UK Prime Minister.
He said: “The world is already watching Johnson. The Internal Market Bill and the attempt to renege on an international agreement signed just a few months ago, has alerted not just the EU but others as well to the unreliability of the current UK Government.
“If the people of Scotland vote to have their say, refusing that will have implications and consequences well beyond these shores.”
He continued: “We need to be prepared for all eventualities. We are and will be.
“We will also need to judge each day as it comes and be prepared to respond to an increasingly autocratic, anti-democratic, unstable UK Government.”