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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
15 September 2023
MP urges SNP leaders to amend independence motion

Yousaf and Flynn’s planned route to independence will be debated during the conference | Alamy

MP urges SNP leaders to amend independence motion

The SNP's independence strategy should be amended ahead of the party’s annual conference in Aberdeen next month, Pete Wishart has suggested.

The MP for Perth and North Perthshire said the motion backed by First Minister Humza Yousaf and the SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn is a “good motion” but “needs one amendment”.  

Yousaf and Flynn’s planned route to independence, which will be debated during the conference, argues that a majority of Scottish seats at the next general election would “give democratic effect to Scotland becoming independent”.  

The plans signalled the intention to ditch former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for a de facto referendum at the next election, where an overall of 50 per cent plus one would have been considered as the equivalent of a majority vote for Scottish independence.  

Wishart has suggested that the move to replace the majority of votes with seats is not the path to achieving independence. He argued that only a majority of votes would give the “real democratic credibility” to pursue independence.  

Wishart’s alternative motion, which will also be considered at the conference, has been backed by Joanna Cherry and former SNP treasurer Douglas Chapman.  

Under the alternative motion, votes for all pro-independence parties such as Alba and the Scottish Greens would be counted as a vote for Scotland to “become an independent country with immediate effect”.  

The motion backed by Yousaf and Flynn reads: “Conference agrees that 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.”  

It continues: “Conference believes that 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; and to take the following actions as part of preparations for Scotland’s independence:

“Publish ‘Withdrawal from Westminster – a New Partnership Agreement’, which would set out the detailed terms we would seek in discussions with the UK Government for Scotland becoming an independent country and include draft legal text on the transfer of powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament necessary to prepare for independence.”  

In response to this, Wishart posted to social media: “It's a good motion and only really needs one amendment. Replace 'seats' with 'votes'. With that, it would have real democratic credibility and allow us to realistically pursue our independence ambitions.”

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