WRITING in his latest opinion piece for the Advertiser, Helensburgh's MP Brendan O'Hara says the independence debate very much remains at the forefront of Scottish politics following the recent Holyrood elections.

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IT has only been seven weeks but, given the pace of events both at home and internationally, already the Holyrood elections feel like a long time ago.

Obviously, I was extremely disappointed to see the SNP’s excellent candidate Toni Giugliano miss out here in this constituency, but I congratulate Jackie Baillie on retaining her seat.

Looking back to the national results, it was a truly remarkable election victory for the SNP.

To secure a fourth consecutive term in office is tremendous achievement, but for the party of government, after 14 years in power to actually increase its share of the vote and take seats from both main opposition parties, is unprecedented.

For the SNP to come within one seat of winning an overall majority, particularly in an electoral system which is specifically designed to prevent that happening, proves that the people of Scotland not only liked what the SNP were doing in government and that they trusted Nicola Sturgeon to lead us through the pandemic, but that the constitutional question is far from being settled.

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The result showed that a majority of people in Scotland have a progressive, inclusive, outward looking vision for the future of our nation.

And yet we are facing many more years of right-wing Brexit-obsessed Tory governments that we haven’t voted for, taking us in a direction that we have rejected, time and time again.

And so, that brings into sharp focus the key question we posed at this election - how do we best secure the kind of country we want to build and a better future for us all?

The SNP and Scottish Greens both stood on a clear commitment to an independence referendum within the next parliamentary term and the parliament that emerged from this election has a clear pro-independence majority.

This means that before too long, the Scottish people will again have their say on whether we stick with a broken, isolated United Kingdom, or we choose a very different path, one that will lead us to rejoining the community of nations in European Union as a sovereign, independent country.