THE SNP’s Westminster leader has told colleagues to prepare for the Scottish independence campaign to be ramped up next month, according to leaked emails.

In an update to party MPs, Ian Blackford outlined a handful of changes to his team and promised further details on plans when recess comes to an end.

Tommy Sheppard, currently Cabinet Office spokesperson at Westminster, will be moved to a new position focused on the constitution.

The National:

Meanwhile Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute, will take on Sheppard’s old role.

In his message, seen by the Daily Record, Blackford told his team: “We will be moving into a new phase of independence campaigning when we return in October. I will be addressing this in more detail with the group when we return from recess.

“As part of this I will be asking Stewart Hosie to work directly with me coordinating our independence campaigning.

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“These changes will collectively enhance our ability to hold the UK Government to account and prepare for us for the tasks ahead in the drive to win the arguments for independence.”

The SNP have been contacted for comment.

Some SNP figures have been critical of the pace of work on independence, while Alex Salmond’s Alba have consistently accused the party of failing to prioritise work on self-determination.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to hold a second legal independence referendum before 2023, Covid permitting.

Last week, the SNP hit back at claims that they aren’t serious about holding indyref2 after former Tory MSP Adam Tomkins claimed the reduction in Scotland Office ministers suggested the UK Government isn’t too worried.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin responded: “Adam Tomkins seems to be indulging in some wishful thinking on his part because I can tell him for sure that the SNP government is 100% committed to delivering the referendum for which there is a cast-iron democratic mandate. No amount of desperate Tory bluster will change that.

“Boris Johnson’s bid to defy democracy is not just unsustainable, but entirely a result of knowing that being governed by Westminster is dragging Scotland down, and increasingly more people are realising that.”