The First Minister’s decision to meet with a cross-party independence group has been criticised by the Tories as proof the Scottish Government was pursuing constitutional objectives instead of “getting on with the day job”.
Nicola Sturgeon will reportedly meet with the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) early next month, an organisation the SNP is a member of and retains regular contact with.
The meeting will be used to discuss how best to “move forward the case for independence in the current political landscape”.
It follows an announcement by the SNP leader last month that the Scottish Government would “reset” its plan for indyref2 following the snap general election which saw the Nationalists lose 21 of their MPs.
The First Minister said she would not introduce her Referendum Bill “immediately” after the vote on June 6 but would take stock in autumn next year on how and when to proceed.
But the Conservatives said meeting the SIC proved the SNP’s determination to “wrench Scotland” out of the United Kingdom.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “So much for the First Minister’s claims that her Government would get back to the day job. Nicola Sturgeon is showing where her true priority lies, and it’s not Scotland’s economy, health service or education.
“The First Minister spending her time meeting independence campaigners will simply confirm the Scottish public’s view that independence always has and always will be the only thing the SNP cares about.
“People are growing hugely frustrated at the SNP’s neglect over a vast range of issues to instead focus on its blinkered obsession to wrench Scotland out of the United Kingdom.”
The SIC was originally formed in 2005 and relaunched last year.
“We believe it is important that we offer activities, advice, research and a forum for discussion for the Yes movement in the months ahead,” a spokesman told The National.
“To do that we must build broad consensus across the movement including the pro-independence parties before we make any of our plans public.”
An SNP spokesman told The Scotsman: “We are part of the convention so there’s regular contact.
“The Scottish Tories are simply trying to raise a smokescreen in a desperate effort to hide the extreme Brexit cliff edge that they’re about to drag us all off.”
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon ‘resets’ indyref2 plans