Senior SNP ally turns on Nicola Sturgeon’s rules on banning Scottish independence marches

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Kenny MacAskill who served as a former justice secretary under Alex Salmond said the issue could be decided by the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021. The MP for East Lothian stressed that it was time for a “huge rally on an unprecedented scale” to show support for IndyRef2. 

He claimed “independence was on the march” and added: “Even with a face mask, chapping a door will be frowned on and could be counterproductive at this time.

“Even putting a leaflet through a door will raise concerns.

“That’s why marching must begin.

“Socially distanced it must be, and respectful of the guidance provided. But it’s essential.”


His comments come despite a ban on mass gatherings which are yet to be relaxed under the Sturgeon government’s COVID-19 route map.

He continued: “Smaller marches in deprived housing schemes will show that the cause is still alive in areas that have been suffering.

“Moreover, a huge rally on an unprecedented scale is required to show that this is the demand of the Scottish people.”

The MP has also urged voters to back a second pro-independence party as well as the SNP at the next Holyrood election.

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He stressed the current Holyrood voting system made it hard to get a majority in both constituency and regional seats in an electoral region.

Mr MacAskill added: “‘Both Votes SNP’ just doesn’t work.

“What better way of allowing Scottish voters a choice than a specific ‘independence’ option on the list.”

When asked if she was hitting the pause button independence campaigning, Nicola Sturgeon said that for the moment she was focused “100 percenton tackling COVID”.

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She said the recent rise of support for independence in Scotland “maybe has a lesson in it for my own party”.

Speaking earlier this month, she added: “At no point during this have I weighed my decisions on a political basis or a constitutional basis but at a time when I and the SNP have not been talking about independence all the time but getting on with the job of autonomous decision making and trying to get the right decisions to get the county through a crisis, support for independence appears to have increased so maybe there is a bit of a lesson in there about show not tell.”

The First Minister also rejected comments from Chancellor Rishi Sunak that COVID-19 financial support was only possible because “we are a United Kingdom”.

She said: “These kind of nonsense points frankly I think are a bit regrettable and ridiculous particularly given the severity of what we face.”

Andrew Wilson, from indy group All Under One Banner, who organised a recent socially distanced protest outside Holyrood, said: “The First Minister is absolutely right to focus on in terms of public health and in terms of an emergency the thing that came first and thing that’s most important, and we applaud her for that.

“When she’s been asked about the activities of All Under One Banner she has always been very careful to say we need the timing that is important and the timing is correct.

“All Under One Banner absolutely supports the First Minister in her activities to protect and look after the people of Scotland.

“We will get on with independence and at a time when the First Minister is not having to spend every waking minute dealing with COVID then I’m sure we’ll be working beside her at that point.”

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