A ROW between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond is a “tragedy” for both politicians, Jim Sillars has said.

The former SNP depute leader made the point as he urged the SNP to review their party rules to allow for a style of leadership focused less on one figure. He said a model that permitted greater influence at the very top of a number of senior people would be in the party’s long-term interests.

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Sillars said he believes that if such a structure had existed, it might have prevented the current fall-out, brought to a head Salmond’s legal case against the Scottish Government. Salmond won the case on Tuesday. “This is a tragedy for both, to have the former First Minister and the current First Minister fighting a legal war and appearing to be in a proxy war,” Sillars said. “It is extremely damaging to them personally and damaging to the Scottish National Party.

“However, it does not follow that it is damaging to the independence movement or to the case for independence. The SNP are just one part of the Yes movement. I would hope people on the outside of this internal argument will not be drawn in and will concentrate on building the Yes movement as a distinctive entity in its own right.”

Sillars went on to urge the SNP to review their constitution, which he believes gives too much power to the leader, and said he would prefer to see a group of people around the leader. “I think we are now suffering from the fact that both in Alex’s time and in Nicola’s time it was a one-person party as far as decision-making went.

“There is no corpus of senior party members who can call people together. We are now, as a party, going to pay the price for that.

“I have argued that this restrictive group in control of the party, almost one person in control with acolytes, has been extremely damaging and a price would one day be paid for it. Unfortunately, a price is now going to be paid.”

Sillars added: “I don’t think there is an early prospect of an independence referendum. I think it’s time someone was blunt with the Yes movement.

“When there is no national organisation, there has been no significant research on the policies we would have after Brexit and without an effective national organisation and without the research we have done on policies we would be required to put to the people we are not in a position to win a referendum These are the things that have to happen now and whatever happens in the SNP we should not take our eyes off that ball.”

Sillars believes the situation with Salmond and Sturgeon is unlikely to come to a swift conclusion.