AN SNP MP has given his backing to calls for the party to pursue a “Plan B” route to independence.
Douglas Chapman has declared his support for an amendment by MP Angus MacNeil and senior party councillor Chris McEleny, as he warned that the Tory government would not be willing to “play ball” over indyref2.
MacNeil and McEleny want the SNP’s party conference in Autumn to back a plan stating that an independence referendum should be held by October next year.
If the UK Government refuses permission for this, they say the next Holyrood or Westminster election should be fought on a manifesto that would see victory mandate the Scottish Government to open negotiations on independence.
The original resolution was rejected by the party’s committee, who said it was too significant a development for a single conference debate, but the pair are now seeking to present it as an amendment to a motion celebrating the achievements of the Scottish Parliament.
MacNeil and McEleny cite support from SNP branches across the country, and already have the backing of MP Lisa Cameron and MSP Christine Grahame.
Joining their voices in calling for this approach, Chapman said: “We have to take pragmatic steps to ensure that the people of Scotland have their say on the future of their own country.
“All the signs are that a right-wing Tory government are not going to play ball over another Edinburgh Agreement.
“The 45% have now become the 52% and the risks for any UK government have become too high for them to contemplate being co-operative … probably quite the opposite. They will frustrate, deny resources and use every legal barrier to stop our progress.
“You just have to look at the frenzy within Labour following the comments by McDonnell to see the Unionists are seriously worried about losing their pernicious Union.
“For us through, these circumstances necessitates a Plan B and in the absence of agreement with the UK on a second independence referendum, then pro-independence parties winning a majority of Scottish seats in an UK or Scottish election is a pragmatic way to expressing the legitimacy of our right to self-determination.”
The deadline for submission of amendments to the party conference is tomorrow, after which a party conference committee will determine if the plan will be allowed to make the final agenda.
MacNeil and McEleny believe their amendment will be difficult to throw out without party bosses rejecting the resolution on the achievements of Holyrood, which is unlikely.
However, a party insider has previously suggested to The National that this was not the case.
They said: “If it wasn’t competent as a resolution, it’s not competent as an amendment.
“It doesn’t change some of the fundamental problems with the initial resolution. What is an electoral victory for instance, is it a majority of seats or over 50% of the vote?
“Also an amendment shouldn’t change a fundamental aspect of a resolution.”