John Swinney said there is no "political wheeze" or "shortcut" to independence.

Speaking at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, the Deputy First Minister said the only route is persuading a majority of people to vote for independence.

His comments came a day after a bid to debate a so called Plan B for independence, if the UK government rules out a second referendum, was rejected by the conference delegates.

In a speech where he branded Boris Johnson a "clown" Mr Swinney said persuasion was the only route to independence.

Mr Swinney said: “Step by step, we are winning the argument.

“We know it and it makes us impatient. But there is no shortcut. There is no magic policy or political wheeze that can change the task ahead of us.

“One by one we must persuade our families, our friends and our neighbours of our cause.

“One by one. Step by step.  It takes effort. It takes patient persuasion.”

And he said Brexit was moving more people over to supporting independence.

Mr Swinney had a swipe at Boris Johnson and Donald Trump for creating division and fear.

He added: “Faced with the choice between independence and the UK of Brexit and Boris Johnson, people are choosing independence. 

“They are rejecting the lies of the populists and holding fast to the shared values of truth, integrity, honesty. 

“Johnson and Trump choose lies and division.

“We choose to live as though in the first days of a new nation.

“They choose fear. We choose Hope

He added: “Boris Johnson is a clown. 

“But, no deal isn’t funny. It is deadly serious. No Deal will cost lives and no rational Prime Minister should contemplate inflicting it on this country.”