Nicola Sturgeon warning: SNP aide warns of ‘leadership damage’ over independence obsession

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He added: “Yes activists need to guard against focusing on means at the expense of ends: dwelling too much on the mechanism of a referendum, and not enough on the arguments for independence itself.” It comes as Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader said the SNP “must” prepare for a second referendum on Scottish independence to take place in 2021.


Ian Blackford said the SNP would have a platform to hold indyref2 “quickly” if they won the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

But Mr Pringle stressed: “The danger of setting such certitude is that disillusion may rebound on Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues for failing to deliver, rather than on the Conservatives at Westminster for disrespecting Scottish election mandates.

“The SNP spent a great deal of time insisting that a referendum would happen this year when, even before the pandemic, it was clear that there was no prospect of one.”

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard also raised an eyebrow about this year’s choice of policy at the conference which takes place between Saturday 28 and Monday November 30. understands the pandemic has slightly changed the direction of the party but an independence pledge will have a strong message.

The Edinburgh East MP, said: “When it comes to debating policy the choice is pretty limited.

“Gone are individual resolutions from branches.

“Instead we have six themed policy positions composed from branch submissions which you can either take or leave.

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“Some stuff in there is radical, some isn’t.”

Tensions have already risen between certain party members as after a strategy aimed at finding a new way of pushing through Scottish independence, backed by the SNP’s Justice spokeswoman Joanna Cherry was rejected.

SNP Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny together with Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil also submitted another plan to the SNP national executive which was rejected.

The strategy suggested winning a pro-independence majority would be grounds to start negotiations with Westminster for Scotland to leave the UK.

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An SNP spokesperson said of the independence position: “There is a consensus that an agreed referendum is the way to do this.

“A National Assembly to look at additional ways to hold a legal referendum has already been announced, and rather than restricting it to a select few, it offers the chance for any SNP member to input to that discussion, and that can only be a good thing.”

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