A MOVE to encourage more debate and end “self-congratulatory” motions at SNP conference has been unveiled by the party’s policy committee.

A resolution is being put forward for the national conference taking place in Aberdeen in October, which aims to shake-up the way discussions take place.

SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano said the emphasis should be on bringing forward and debating issues that impact on people’s lives instead of the mix of “self-congratulation and resolutions passed by acclaim” which have dominated conferences in recent years.

He said one motion being put forward by the Policy Development Committee is aimed at changing procedures for resolutions for conference – which will mean only recognised party groups such as a branch or a parliamentary group will be able to submit resolutions.

“This will mean if you are an MP or MSP and want to get a resolution onto the conference agenda, you need to be able to persuade at least one branch or recognised group,” Giugliano said.

“The aim is to increase the number of conference motions submitted by branches and increase legitimacy within the party on policy making, bringing the members closer to the party and making then feel like they have a real stake.

“MPs and MSPs will still be able to speak on motions put their name to the motion, but will require the backing of at least one group.

“We need to end the self-congratulatory motions which don’t do the party any favours.”

He added: “It’s fair to say that SNP conference agendas in recent years have been a mix of self-congratulation and resolutions passed by acclaim. Conference should not be about patting ourselves on the back, it’s about dealing with the issues that remain unresolved.

“It should be a gathering of ideas, discussion, scrutiny of office bearers - we need to get back to basics.”

The deadline for submission of resolutions passed last week and proposals will now be screened by the Conferences Committee to check they meet requirements before conference delegates are given the chance to rank which ones they think should be discussed.

Giugliano said: “Over the past month the Policy Development Committee has been working with branches across Scotland to bring forward issues that impact people’s lives - from radical land reform to buffer zones outside health services, from more progressive forms of taxation to action on homelessness.

“I’ve personally worked with the campaign group ‘Upstart Scotland’ on a motion on raising the formal school start age in line with international evidence. There will also be internal resolutions on strengthening policy-making procedures.”

He urged the Conferences Committee and delegates who will vote on resolutions to back resolutions which will spark debate.

“Our goal is to build a modern political system based on openness, participation and transparency - the exact opposite of what’s on offer at Westminster,” he added.

“So let’s bring forward motions that generate real discussion and address the difficult issues. Scotland deserves nothing less.”

Giugliano said the gathering in autumn was important as one of the last conferences which would take place before either an independence referendum or a general election.

“Our conference is a key moment and an opportunity to portray the kind of Scotland we want to build - there should be no limits to our ambition,” he said.

“But it’s also about the kind of politics that we want an independent Scotland to have: open and participative, accessible, transparent and respectful.

“It’s also a platform to take a stand on a number of different policy spheres, including where we don’t currently have powers like immigration and foreign affairs.”

He added: “So yes - the Scottish Government are publishing papers on independence - but members too, through conference, have the power to shape what an independent nation will look like.

“It’s my job to empower them and support them in that process.”

The SNP conference will take place at the Event Complex in Aberdeen October 8-10 later this year. It will be the first in-person conference held by the party since October 2019 and the first to be held following the unveiling of the route map to independence by Nicola Sturgeon last month.