SNP crisis: Scottish nationalists launch plot to heal party rifts ahead of Holyrood vote

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Depute leader Keith Brown has revealed a review will be carried out to look at what support can be given to local activists involved in campaigning and how internal party politics could be improved. It comes after the party made a decision which meant that serving SNP MPs would have to step down ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament election to be able to stand on the SNP ticket for a Holyrood seat.

Party sources told the “new strategy” was “all about focussing” on constituents.

But the decision meant that Joanna Cherry, a serving MP, was unable to stand for the Edinburgh Central seat, which is currently held by former Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

Meanwhile, the party was also forced to make a U-turn on a decision to bar sitting male SNP MSP James Dornan from seeking reelection in his Glasgow Cathcart seat and having an all-women shortlist for the party candidacy instead.

National party secretary Angus MacLeod ruled it was “unconstitutional”.

But Mr Brown said: “The internal democracy of the SNP has always been one of our strengths, and we need to keep building on that great tradition in a way that reflects the size of our party and the evolving needs of our membership.”

“So I’ve invited a small number of members, from different perspectives and roles in the party, to come together to work on this review.”

The review will consist of a panel of SNP politicians and will aim to improve the transparency of decision making and communications across the party.

Alongside this, it will also aim to ensure that the party is inclusive to ensure that every member and group have the opportunity to participate and make their voice heard.

However, as a primary target, the party will aim to prepare for a potential independence referendum by expanding “the existing range of services provided by the party to help local campaigns win elections.”

Party leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP needs to be united in its approach ahead of next year’s Holyrood elections.

She said the SNP needs to “focus on what matters to people” ahead of next year’s election and put aside internal disputes stressing it would be a put off for voters.

Ms Sturgeon claimed the SNP was in a “position of strength” going into the 2021 election but stressed any trust from voters could be easily lost.

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She added: “The SNP is in a position of strength and we’ve got as a party to recognise that we don’t exist in some kind of bubble.

“Right now the majority of the people in the country we serve are worried about their health and they’re worried about their ability to pay their bills.

“Opinion polls would suggest they massively trust the SNP to lead them through that crisis.

“If they ever thought the SNP was turning away from that priority and focusing on its own agendas and engaging in infighting I’m sure they would pass a verdict on that.”

It comes after a group of SNP MP’s at Westminster wrote to the party’s ruling body in a signal that internal rifts within the Nationalist bloc started to widen.

The letter, which has been seen by, made clear the concerns which said: “We, the undersigned MPs, are writing to question the recent NEC decision regarding dual mandates which currently appears to only apply to MPs.”


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