ONE in four SNP members who took part in the party's elections for president backed Craig Murray, the Alex Salmond supporter has revealed as he called for a second independence to be held next September.

Murray stood on a platform to deliver independence within two years - a move which appealed to many in the grassroots amid frustration among some in the party over the party's stance on delivering a second vote on the issue.

In an advert he took out in The National after declaring he was putting his name forward for the role, he wrote: "Boris Johnson can have no veto over the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own path. The possibility should not be entertained. It is an affront to international law.

"I am standing for president because I want the SNP to be a party whose overriding priority is to obtain full, completed and internationally recognised Independence for Scotland within a maximum of two years from this date."

As revealed by The National last night Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell won the contest for SNP president, which is an honorary role.

Murray congratulated Russell on his victory and added that his rival had said during a hustings that a second independence referendum should be held next September.

He added that overall the NEC results reflected grassroots' concern that "a powerful clique" was neglecting the drive for independence.

"The NEC elections reflected real concern among members that a powerful clique in the party was neglecting the drive for independence in favour of other priorities," he said.

"I am delighted at the success of Joanna Cherry, Chris Hanlon, Douglas Chapman and others laser-focused on independence."

He added: "I congratulate Mike Russell on becoming president of the party. That I received 25% of the votes against one of the SNP's most prominent and effective ministers - and Corri Wilson another 15% - should show just how much member disquiet there is over accepting a Westminster S30 veto. 

"In the SNP TUG hustings Mike Russell pledged explicitly to support indyref2 in September 2021. I and the large majority of the party now expect this to happen."