The Supreme Court will “fail the people of Scotland” if it does not allow for the Scottish Government to legislate for a second independence referendum.
SNP president Mike Russell addressed the party’s conference in Aberdeen on Sunday, where he discussed its plans ahead of the ruling.
The court will hear arguments this week after a referral from the Lord Advocate on a prospective Bill legislating for a referendum.
Mr Russell told delegates: “If the Supreme Court rules in our favour, then it will be on October 19 next year.
“And if the Supreme Court fails the people of Scotland, then we will rise to that challenge too, and put our case at the next general election, whenever that is.
“That’s a choice that has to be made if Scotland is to escape from the downward spiral of Tory and Labour governments exploiting but ignoring Scotland.”
But SNP MSP Neil Gray told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend that the party does not “want to be in the situation where we need to test public opinion through a general election process”.
Mr Gray told the programme: “Where we are quite clearly looking to have as our first preference an independence referendum – that’s the gold standard, that’s what people would want and anticipate – we’ve put that through to the Supreme Court to determine.
“We don’t want to be in the situation where we need to test public opinion through a general election process, but we’ve got a mandate to deliver a decision on independence with the Scottish people, and if that democratic event has to be a general election, then that is what we will do, because we respect the fact that people voted overwhelmingly in the last Scottish election on a manifesto that committed us to a referendum to put that question to the people again.”
He added that the party would “respect the process the Supreme Court goes through”.
But he went on: “We hope that that is positive in our direction.
“But if it’s not it also poses a fundamental question for unionists to answer, which is if there is no route by which a so-called voluntary union, people can determine their future within it, then that is a fundamental shift and what even the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford understands the current union to be presented as.
“And that will be a very difficult question for unionists, for the UK Government, for the Conservatives and Labour Party to answer is, what is the democratic route by which people can have self determination in Scotland?”