AN SNP MP has called on Nicola Sturgeon to immediately restart the campaign for independence.

Angus Brendan MacNeil said the party was being “hopelessly naive” to think they could pause the case for a Yes vote in the middle of a pandemic.

The Scottish Government had long said they planned on holding indyref2 this year, but postponed its planning last month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

MacNeil denied that ramping up campaigning for independence would be in bad taste. He accused Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw of using the crisis to make the case for the Union.

“I think our opponents will tell us its bad taste because they don’t want us to do it. The people themselves are receptive to argument.

“No amount of telling Jackson Carlaw it’s in bad taste to go shouting about the Union will stop Jackson Carlaw go shouting about the Union.”

He added: “We are being foolish if we imagine that because Jackson Carlaw told us to stop talking about independence we should stop talking about independence.”

The veteran MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said the UK Government’s refusal to extend the Brexit transition period and their strategy for tackling coronavirus helped make the case for independence.

He said: “I think if we had our hands unshackled, if we weren’t involved in the web around Cobra and the United Kingdom, we may find ourselves testing akin to Norway, Iceland, or Ireland.

“All of whom are different from each other, but one thing they have in common is that they’re better than the UK.”

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In early March both the UK and Scottish governments moved from the containment phase of tackling coronavirus to the delay phase.

That effectively brought an end to testing and contact tracing those who had been around confirmed coronavirus patients.

MacNeil added: “We’re doomed at the moment.

“We’re in hock to whatever the Tories see fit, and that’s always going to be difficult as they’re always going to see it through the lens of the bankers and the financial institutions.

“If independence is something that’s going to change that then let’s campaign for independence.

“There’s no point going around, as we always do, asking the Tories to be sensible, let’s just do the sensible thing directly and have the power ourselves.”

In a recent interview Carlaw said making Scotland’s constitutional future a centrepiece of their campaign would hurt the SNP at next year’s election.

He said: “I think it will look ridiculous if the first debate that the nationalist movement want to have when we get to the other side of this is ‘let’s go gung ho for independence next year’ then more fool them if they do.”

The SNP did not respond to requests for a comment.