KENNY MacAskill has called for grassroots activists to “take the lead” in the campaign for a Yes vote as “no-one else is doing so”.

The SNP MP says “preparations must begin” for the vote, accusing his party’s leadership of not doing enough.

The former justice secretary called on independence supporters – who he says are “increasingly frustrated at delays and uncertainty” – to take “extra parliamentary action”.

Writing for the Wings Over Scotland blog, MacAskill said it would be naive to think that a Yes vote is inevitable.

The East Lothian MP added: “Unionists aren’t going to give up without a fight and they’ve learned lessons from the last campaign. Added to that, their substantial war chest means that we’ve a titanic battle on our hands. They’ll know key buttons to press and they’ll be hard and ruthless when doing so.

“So rather than congratulating ourselves on recent polls, work should be getting done. It’s what you reap in good times that sustains you through the bad.”

He says that unlike in 2014, it’ll be the “wider independence movement that’ll lead the campaign” or else the referendum risks being a debate on the Scottish Government’s track record in office.

He called for some form of structure to bring the Yes groups and independence campaigners to together.

“The groups are and will remain autonomous, but a central team is important. Moreover, the leadership of a mass movement should come from within, not be appointed from on high,” he said.

There are some organisations who would be keen to take on the role of what MacAskill calls a “steering group”.

Over the weekend, Voices for Scotland told this paper they were “best placed” to take over from Yes Scotland and lead the charge for indyref2.

The campaigning arm of the Elaine C Smith-helmed Scottish Independence Convention, Voices for Scotland launched just last year and is funded by donations from £5 per month.

Yes Scotland was launched in May 2012 and ran until the day of the September 2014 vote.

Led by chief executive Blair Jenkins and backed by the Greens, the Scottish Socialist Party and others, the limited company was dissolved after the polls closed.

But the legal entity behind it is still owned by the SNP’s solicitor to prevent its usage by other groups and could be brought back into usage if desired.

MacAskill says coordination and planning will be crucial tasks for this new body.

“Preparing the platform to be laid out, the issues to highlight and the rebuttals to make when the campaign proper begins. It’s also about the exchange of information on what works and what doesn’t; as well as pooling resources to ensure that limited funds are maximised.

“The ground has changed since 2014 and neither the White Paper or the activist’s preference, The Wee Blue Book, are up to date. Excellent work has been ongoing by individuals on issues such as currency and debt. Likewise, Common Weal have provided a vision of what can be achieved with the power of independence. But much more needs done, the clock is running down and what’s been offered to date from such as the Growth Commission exposed as entirely inadequate.”

The MP also calls for a Constitutional Convention, which he says should be led by the STUC.

Last week, Nicola Sturgeon promised to publish a draft bill before next May which will set

out the terms, timing and question for indyref2.