In what is being described as a significant signing by leading nationalist figures, Mark Shaw, an Aberdeen-based property developer has taken up a part-time consultancy role within the Yes Scotland campaign.
Pro-independence sources said he could be a key behind-the-scenes presence to help boost the work of the Yes Scotland campaign, with polls showing no movement towards independence.
Shaw told Scotland on Sunday he hoped to provide an overview of the campaign’s strategy, and insisted there was still time to turn around polls before next year’s vote.
Shaw is chief executive of the Edinburgh-based Hazle–dene group which has built major developments in Aberdeen and last year bought over an Olympic ski centre in Italy. He is also owner of the Park Inn Radisson in Aberdeen.
He warned last year that “scaremongering” over Scotland’s future membership of the EU could damage the country’s overseas business interests.
Chief Executive of Yes Scotland Blair Jenkins said: “Mark is working with Yes Scotland on a part-time and voluntary basis. We are delighted to have somebody of Mark’s calibre and financial acumen on board”.
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Shaw said: “I can give an overview and see how things might gel.
“I’ve been involved in quite a lot of business which covers maybe five or six countries and I am quite good at stitching things together and coming up with a shared plan. There is one there already but I can help that along. There are plenty of smart people thinking how things are working. I think I can add something to that as well.”
Shaw added: “Everyone needs to be at the top of their game and if I can add to that, I will. We only get one shot at this.”
Shaw insisted there was still time to bring round business people and the public to independence prior to the referendum.
“It’s a culture of standing on your own two feet and getting things done. Business people look to take the most out of every opportunity and I think when they come to look at this they will go for it. Even the No camp is saying that it could be done, but I don’t think that has been felt in the whole population. People are not engaged yet. Next year they will get engaged.”
SNP figures said Shaw was respected as a no-nonsense figure who had shown an ability to “cut through the flannel” in political campaigning in previous involvement with the party.
It comes amid reports of tensions between the SNP and the Yes Scotland campaigns, and with both facing pressure to show progress.