JOANNA Cherry has hit back at Andrew Wilson after an interview in which he claimed she had got “into a fight with Angus Robertson over a seat and lost".

Cherry had hoped to challenge Angus Robertson, the SNP's former Westminster leader, in the Edinburgh Central constituency next year, before pulling out of the contest.

A rule change by the NEC, the SNP’s ruling body, meant any Holyrood challenger would have to resign as an MP if they decided to run for a place in the Scottish Parliament.

Robertson has already announced plans to bid for the candidacy and is one of the favourites to win the seat in Cherry’s absence.

Cherry was responding to an interview with Andrew Wilson, the author of the SNP's Growth Commission report, which said there is a "perceived split" between her and Robertson.

Wilson told The Herald on Sunday: “All organisations will have personality clashes and ambition clashes. In Scotland, that can be vastly overstated. Angus is one of my closest friends; Joanna Cherry is my MP. I respect them both. Two politicians fight over a seat and one loses – that story’s as old as politics.”

But Cherry hit back, tweeting: "There’s a lot in this article with which to disagree however if seeking to be styled the “brains” of the Yes movement its best not to take the rest of us for fools. I did not get into a fight with @AngusRobertson over a seat & lose.

“I sought to enter the selection competition to be @theSNP candidate to contest the #EdinburghCentral seat currently held by the Tories. The constituency is where I’ve lived for last twenty years & been a branch member for 12 years.

“The selection rules were subject to an unprecedented change in a secret vote to hobble my candidacy. Mr Robertson is now in what it is to be hoped will be a fair selection with others including @MarcoGBiagi the former MSP & favourite of many local members “Facts matter. Ultimately the candidate will be chosen by local members & he or she will then fight for the seat. We have our online hustings this week & it is to be hoped that outside interference will now stop so that local democracy can take its course.”

In the interview, Wilson went on to say that the independence movement and the SNP have been "riven by civil wars" and said those are Salmond v Sturgeon; battles over political correctness and splits on independence Plan B which could see Scottish ministers seek a legal challenge to establish if Holyrood could stage indyref2 with the Prime Minister’s agreement.

“It’s vital to have unity of purpose and mutual respect,” Wilson told the paper. He said independence supporters can’t “spend its whole time chipping at each other – which is what Scotland has been doing for centuries, fighting among itself”.

He went on: “In the history of Scotland for many long centuries we’ve been world class at fighting with ourselves and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – this has been a national trait. It’s now long overdue for us to do the opposite.”

The article also said senior independence figures "worry that the Salmond saga could exhaust Sturgeon so much she just quits".

"The respect [Sturgeon] commands internationally would be significant over re-entry to Europe," it added.

Wilson said he's passionate about turning Unionists to Yes. “The tone has to be right, we need to be seen by the rest of the world and the UK as the opposite of those prosecuting the case for Brexit," he said. "Most people are open to persuasion if they’re properly engaged and treated with respect."

Wilson also said he is skeptical about running a referendum on a 60% threshold or allowing Scots outside the country to vote.

He added: “Scotland wouldn’t be governable under the status quo if 59% wanted independence but we didn’t get it because there’s a 60% rule or votes in England kept us in a union against the will of the people living here – democratic legitimacy and transparency are important.”