SNP politicians and party members are gathering for their annual conference, with the route to independence the burning issue.

Following a troubling few weeks for the party after losing the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election to Labour and suffering the defection of an MP, Lisa Cameron to the Tories, Humza Yousaf will look to unite his party.

Yousaf will deliver the main speech, his first as party leader to the conference.

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Other high-profile speakers include Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, and Deputy First Minister Shona Robison.

The party delegates will debate a number of issues and set policy in key areas including its strategy on achieving independence.

Yousaf and Flynn have proposed a resolution that used the next Westminster General Election as a means to achieving its ultimate aim.

It is shaping up to be the hottest topic at the conference, that takes place in Aberdeen from Sunday to Tuesday.

It argues that becoming the largest party in Scotland at the election, which it has been on the last three occasions, is enough to start the process.

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It states: “The SNP manifesto for the UK General Election should state on page one, line one, the following simple and powerful statement: Vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country.

“If the SNP subsequently wins the most seats at the General Election in Scotland, the Scottish Government is empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country.”

Several amendments are lodged as the part is at odds over how it can and should move forward with campaigning and achieving Scottish independence.

Other key issues for debate include asylum and immigration.

A resolution condemns the UK Government over its treatment of asylum seekers.

It comes in the week after Glasgow City Council said it is looking at having to use public buildings like sports centres, to provide emergency accommodation for homeless people if the UK Government goes ahead with its plan to speed up asylum decisions, leading to more than one thousand people applying as homeless in the city.

The resolution for debate states the SNP: “Condemns the UK government’s appalling dismantling of the asylum system, including in particular the contracting of the Bibby Stockholm barge as part of a policy of deterrence and the ongoing attempts to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda in breach of international law.”