SNP MP Kenny MacAskill has called for the launch of a new constitutional convention to create a “coming together” of parliamentarians, trade unions and others around Scotland’s right to decide its own future.

And he said “time is of the essence” if such a body is to be set up. The former justice secretary wants politicians from both Holyrood and Westminster to be involved, as well as trade union bosses and others, similar to the Scottish Constitutional Convention set up to campaign for devolution before the 1997 referendum.

MacAskill spoke ahead of today’s independence march in Glasgow and a meeting of Labour’s Scottish executive committee meet to consider their stance on the constitution.

READ MORE: The Unionist media will turn on MacAskill if it suits their agenda

The former MSP who returned to politics when he was elected as the MP for East Lothian last month, told Skotia Media: “I would like to see Scottish parliamentarians from both Holyrood and Westminster brought together. I’d like to see council leaders and other elected representatives brought together.

“It has to eventually be a body, as with the Constitutional Convention, that self-generates so it can’t be at the whim or control of any one political party. So I’d first like to see parliamentarians brought together and I think we’ve seen movement from people who aren’t in the SNP – and they don’t have to come to the SNP – but are moving towards an agreement with us that Scotland has to have the right to choose.”

He added: “But I think more importantly, as part of building this popular front, we’ve got to widen it. That’s why there’s a role for the STUC and the trade union movement. So let’s get good people of like minds together because time is of the essence. The election was on December 12. We’re now into January. The Queen’s Speech is being laid out. The Finance Bill is coming in. The threat is going to be real. We move on by people coming together. They don’t have to join up for the SNP. They don’t have to support independence.

“I think what they have to do is recognise Scotland’s right to decide its own future but they also have to be prepared to reach out and work collectively to protect our people from the harm that’s going to be threatening them.”

The SNP was initially involved in the Constitutional Convention, established in 1989, but pulled out because of the organisation’s refusal to consider Scottish independence.