SNP should decide way forward on independence through assemblies – Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf says the SNP should decide the way forward for Scottish independence through regional assemblies of party members.
At a campaign event on Saturday, he is expected to say these assemblies would inform the party’s decision at its annual conference which is usually held in the autumn.
Before Nicola Sturgeon announced her decision to step down, the SNP was due to hold a special conference on March 19 where members would choose the next steps of the independence campaign.
However this conference has now been postponed and Mr Yousaf says there should instead be “a series of honest and frank discussions with members”.
Nominations in the race to replace Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister closed on Friday.
As well as Mr Yousaf, who is Scotland’s Health Secretary, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former minister Ash Regan are running.
Voting will close on March 27.
Mr Yousaf is expected to tell SNP members in Dundee: “Let me be clear, determining the route to independence will not simply be a single discussion at one special conference.
“Rather, it should involve a series of honest and frank discussions with members across the country to establish our route to an independent Scotland.
“The only way we can counteract the anti-democratic actions of Westminster is through more democracy, embedded all across our society – including our party.
“Within my first week as SNP leader, I will immediately set up regional assemblies across Scotland to build on the discussions of all our
members and branches on how to win independence.
“This will allow our party to decide our collective plan for independence at annual conference and, as your SNP leader, I will act upon the collective and democratic decisions of our members.”
He will add: “I will kickstart the Yes campaign – ensuring our activists are reinvigorated and more energised than ever before against a Tory cost-of-living crisis and a Westminster government that has mounted a full-frontal power grab on Scotland’s Parliament.
“We must tap into the wealth of views, knowledge and experience at our disposal to unlock the best route forward, engaging with civil society who so richly energised our campaign in 2014.”