SNP's Pete Wishart says party has to reinspire independence supporters

SNP MP Pete Wishart has called on the SNP to inspire independence supporters following the loss of 21 MPs at the last General Election.

Pete Wishart
SNP MP Pete Wishart

The nationalist veteran, who held his seat in the General Election by just 21 votes, says the party must reboot its offering on Scottish independence and make it the central pledge of its 2021 Scottish Parliament campaign.

In calling for the SNP to adopt an “Independence 2.0 strategy”, he called for a settled position on currency and the border between Scotland and England.

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The MP for Perth and North Perthshire argued the SNP had to engage more with independence supporters who he said had stayed at home during Westminster vote as they had been ‘uninspired’ by the party’s offering.

SNP MP Pete Wishart

In an comment piece in The National, he wrote: “We also now know that this is a fragile constituency that cannot be taken for granted.

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“We lost a third of our Westminster MPs just as much as because independence supporters decided to stay at home uninspired with what they saw as an agenda that did not meet their constitutional ambitions.”

Wishart, who is the SNP Shadow Leader of the House in the House of Commons, said that only when the Brexit process was at its peak should Scotland be asked to go to the polls in another referendum.

SNP MP Pete Wishart

“When the reality of this folly finally becomes apparent the Scottish people will almost certainly want to fully review and consider all their available constitutional options.”

He said the administrative journey to the next referendum would not be as clear cut as that laid out in the St Andrews Agreement which led to the 2014 vote.

“This time round the Tory Government is less likely to be so accommodating in granting the same democratic arrangements we secured last time.”

Pete Wishart has been the MP for Perth and North Perthshire since 2005 having previously been MP for North Tayside since 2001.

He saw his majority of 9641 cut to just 21 votes at the 2017 General Election following a targeted campaign by the Scottish Conservatives.