SNP splintering: Sturgeon crisis as own MPs split over how to achieve independence dream

SNP's independence argument always 'falls apart' says Wallace

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Kenny MacAskill, the MP for East Lothian and who served as Cabinet Secretary for Justice from 2007 to 2014, said many potential voters “are neither in a party nor want to be”. He has called for other groups supporting Scottish independence to be “respected not directed” if a second referendum on a split from the rest of the UK does eventually take place. Nationalists throughout Scotland continue to be split over the best way to deliver independence.

Some are demanding a second referendum on the issue to be held this year, but senior SNP members reportedly see this as an unlikely option.

The referendum campaign from 2014 saw Yes Scotland formed as an umbrella group for supporters throwing their weight behind a split from the rest of the UK.

The group was chaired by former Labour MP Dennis Canavan but relied predominantly on the SNP for finance and organisational capacity.

This led to Yes Scotland being branded as an “SNP front” by unionist parties, and now Mr MacAskill is calling for the new Yes campaign to be broader in scope than what was seen during the first referendum nearly seven years ago.

He wrote in a column for The Scotsman newspaper: “It’s been assumed by some in the SNP that the formation of a larger Yes movement organisation is a threat to either the party or the cause.

“That’s wrong in my view and the creation of such an umbrella group is not just good for both but actually essential for success.

“2014 had Yes Scotland but it was late into the game and indeed the professionalisation that came from SNP resources and staff being put in was essential.”

Mr MacAskill added: “But this is 2021 and the terrain and time has changed.

“Now it’s more important than ever that the Yes cause is separated from the SNP.

“The latter has to govern the devolved Scotland but the former need to portray the opportunities for an independent Scotland.

“In any event, whilst the SNP is the largest party supporting independence, it’s not the only one. Others large and small need respected not directed.

“More importantly the cause transcends all those parties. Just as there’s a Labour party but a wider Labour movement, so there is the SNP and an independence movement.

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“Many people are neither in a party nor want to be. But their support and involvement is vital.”

During the historic referendum of 2014, Scots voted by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent against Scottish independence and to remain part of the UK.

Despite this, the SNP and First Minister Ms Sturgeon have continued to ramp up their campaign for a second referendum on independence.

They have argued Brexit – which Scots voted against by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent – was implemented against the will of the Scottish people, and provides the party with a mandate to hold a second independence vote.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stood strong against all of these demands, insisting the result from the referendum in 2014 stands and must continue to be honoured.

Despite this, Ms Sturgeon has vowed the SNP would push further for a second vote should the party win a majority at the upcoming Scottish elections, scheduled to take place on May 6.

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