FORMER justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for an “emergency Yes summit” among growing concerns the independence cause “has been put on ice”.

The Alba Party MP made the intervention after a poll published at the weekend showed support for independence at 48% – a two-year low.

He is the latest prominent figure to call for faster progress to be made in advancing and updating the case for independence amid concerns over a sufficient lack of focus on the objective by the Scottish Government.

The East Lothian MP noted ­comments made by Dennis ­Canavan, the former Yes chair, who said on Monday that action needed to be taken on progressing the mandate for a second referendum achieved at the Holyrood election in May.

He also echoed calls by Canavan – who he suggested as someone who could chair the summit – that more needed to be done to update the case for independence in terms of policies on trade, debt, borders and Europe.

Writing in The National today, he said: “It is because we need the full powers of independence to recover from Covid and safeguard public health and the economy that we need action to secure independence now.

“That is why an independence ­strategy and co-ordination of effort is now required if we are to deliver the referendum we seek and the ­independence we need.”

MacAskill added: “The failure to provide political leadership is ­creating a political vacuum – one that the unionists are already filling with plans and preparations to thwart the independence cause. This failure to provide political leadership makes extra parliamentary action essential.”

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill: This is why the Yes movement is in desperate need of a summit

He added the Conservative ­Government was advancing plans ­behind the scenes to stop a referendum and thwart independence.

He argued these preparations could be seen in secret polling on attitudes to the Union being conducted by ­Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office and discussions by Pro-Union supporters to allow Scots living outside Scotland but in the rest of the UK to vote in indyref2.

MacAskill added: “Unless the SNP wake up, as Denis Canavan has said, and wake up fast the SNP is sleepwalking to disaster and the opportunity to move Scotland forwards to independence will be lost.

“Since the election the SNP has ­effectively ceded the power of ­initiative to the Tories and handed Boris Johnson a veto over a second independence referendum.

“The Scottish Government are … neglecting the vital ­preparations that are necessary to win the case for independence.

“As we saw last week Unionist preparations are well under way with moves to rig a future ballot by extending the franchise to non residents of Scotland and Michael Gove using Covid funding to carry out polling on the Union.

“While the pro Union forces plot and scheme and the UK Government is in full battle readiness, redeploying civil servants to swanky new offices and using the Union Jack to brand tax payer investment in Scotland the SNP remains asleep at the wheel.

“But the Yes Movement needs to regain the initiative and to do so quickly. There should be an emergency summit of the Yes Movement outside Parliament to plot a way forward and to inject urgency and hope into the ­Independence campaign.”