JEANE Freeman has called for the Yes movement to stop “fighting internally” and focus on securing independence.

The Health Secretary said Scotland must “get to the point where we have the powers of a normal country and then we can argue about what to do with them”.

READ MORE: Jeane Freeman: ‘We need to win independence before fighting amongst ourselves'

In an exclusive interview with National columnist Ruth Wishart, she said: “Progressive movements are littered with failures because of fighting internally – which is mad!

“Donald Dewar said we are a disputatious nation and we are. But my view is let’s get to the point where we have the powers of a normal country and then we can argue about what to do with them to our heart’s content. She went on: “But let’s get them first. And the way we get them is to convince more and more people that collectively we can do this. We won’t convince them if we look like it’s a bunch of egos fighting.”

Freeman argued the average independence supporter is more preoccupied with health, staying safe and staying employed than by arguments about power.

“And if we suddenly get into a major back and forth with the UK government then we run the risk of losing people because they don’t know what we’re talking about,” she added.

READ MORE: Independence: Nicola Sturgeon to unveil referendum plans

When asked whether the Yes movement has lost people because of a perceived lack of urgency due to Brexit and coronavirus, Freeman responded: “Well you’re suggesting the only people who can get involved are the government. It doesn’t mean the movement shouldn’t be raising these issues and putting a spotlight on what is happening.

“The movement needs to pay attention to people like Mike Russell fighting these battles every single day on behalf of the government. He’s not flying by the seat of his pants. And, to be blunt, if the movement doesn’t know that then it’s not paying attention.”

Read the full interview in tomorrow's edition of The National