Scottish independence: Former Yes Scotland strategist calls for compromise on Indyref2 plans

A leading strategist for the Yes campaign in the 2014 independence referendum has called for Nicola Sturgeon to drop plans to use the next general election as a 'de facto' referendum

Speaking to The Times newspaper, Stephen Noon said Nicola Sturgeon should compromise on independence and work on strengthening Scotland within the union – after she revealed that her routemap for a second vote included using the next general election as a de facto vote on the issue.

The 51-year-old said that alternatives to complete independence were “worth exploring” and that there could be a “different path” that could be explored through cross-party work.

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He said: “There is a different path. I want Scotland to have the form of government that it wishes, and that may not be independence.

“I will argue with my heart and soul for independence, but I recognise that that may not be the point we get to in the immediate future.

“I may want to get 100% of what I want, but that’s not life. In life you sometimes get 90% of what you want and that’s good enough.

“And so for the independence movement, if we can get 90% of what we want, and in a way which gives the No side also a good chunk of what they want, is that not worth exploring?”

He added: "We have an opportunity, potentially in a few months, to choose a path which takes us to another point of escalation, which is a general election fought on whether we become independent or not.

“Or we can take a step back. It’s not just for the SNP to take a step back, it’s actually also for the Labour Party, it’s for the Liberal Democrats.

“Are we prepared to enter a conversation which is at a different level and enter a process where we might not get what we want, but we might get what the people of Scotland want?

"There’s the independence in Europe of the SNP, but I think there’s also the possibility of independence within the UK.

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“I think that is something which we have got the ability to create, to work out.”

The First Minister said earlier this year that if the Supreme Court rules that Holyrood does not hold the authority to stage a second vote, a majority of votes for pro-independence parties will be used as justification to begin negotiations over the process towards independence.

Ian Blackford said he did had “some sympathy and agreement with Stephen”, as he stressed the importance of “trying to reach a consensus” in the political debate which can “bring people together”.

Speaking on Times Radio, Mr Blackford said: “I think what we really need to do, all of us, is stand and extend the hand of friendship to those in other parties. We really need to have a debate about what kind of Scotland that we want to live in.

“We’re living through the cost-of-living crisis just now and we want to see this being dealt with in a different way.

“So let’s have that debate. And let’s have it respectfully.

“But I think it’s right that having had that manifesto commitment on delivering independence, and an independence referendum, that’s exactly what the Scottish Government should have been doing.”

After the 2014 independence vote, Mr Noon trained as a Jesuit priest but has now left the religious order to study for an MPhil in ethics and practical theology at the University of Edinburgh.

He served as a senior policy adviser to Alex Salmond before working on the Yes Scotland - but has since left politics.