Joanna Cherry urges SNP to become party of ‘radical change’

The SNP needs to become a party of “radical change” following the coronavirus outbreak, one of its senior MPs has said.

Joanna Cherry called for party chiefs to use their time in lockdown to work on policy and development - saying there is “more bandwidth than usual” to do so because of the reduced timetables at Holyrood and Westminster.

Her comments come five years after the SNP achieved its best ever result in a Westminster election, winning 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in the May 2015 ballot.

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Ms Cherry was one of those elected in 2015 as the MP for Edinburgh South West, but she has more recently been vying for a spot at Holyrood as she seeks to be the SNP candidate for Edinburgh Central in next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was met by Joanna Cherry at Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre.

On Twitter yesterday, she wrote that while the SNP must be focused on the Covid crisis, the party should also be “reframing policy and strategy to make sure that, looking to Scotland’s future, we are the party of radical change”.

Writing in The National, she added: “Now is the time for the SNP to do the work to create the vision for the Scotland we want to see at the other end of this crisis.

“While dealing with the public health emergency and saving lives must be the priority of the Scottish Government, the SNP as a party rather than as a government should be looking to our overall strategy and our policy direction.

“There are many party members, elected officials and office bearers in the SNP who are not members of the Government and who currently have time on their hands.

“Whilst parliamentarians’ primary focus must be on their constituents’ concerns, we have more bandwidth than usual because the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments are running to very reduced timetables.”

She said action is necessary to help the SNP enjoy continued electoral success - drawing a parallel to the election after the Second World War when Clement Attlee was elected as prime minister, defeating Winston Churchill despite him leading the country to victory in the conflict.

Ms Cherry said: “When the peak of the crisis is over and we start to return to some degree of normality, that won’t be enough. After the Second World War was won, when Britain went to the polls, voters chose not the leader who won the war but Clement Attlee, who had a radical plan for the peace.

“After this crisis is over, people may well be in mood for radical change in Scotland.”

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