PEOPLE who hold gender-critical views will not be excluded from the official independence campaign despite concern from activists, the party’s president has said.

A row has broken out within the party and the wider independence movement over plans to adopt a definition of transphobia in the code of conduct of a future official Yes campaign, which will be established by the SNP.

Opponents claimed the proposal would mean those who said trans women remained biologically male would be excluded from the campaign.

But Michael Russell, the party’s president and one of the backers of the motion, has given assurances it would not “silence” women who believe biological sex is immutable after concerns were raised by prominent gender-critical SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

READ MORE: 'No second Scottish independence referendum on my watch', Liz Truss insists

The motion, which would see the SNP adopt a pledge drawn up by grassroots organisations, would bind those seeking to join the official campaign to adhere to a code of conduct described as being “built on the principles of freedom, tolerance, equality, the protection of individual and community rights and the rejection of prejudice and discrimination of any form”.

A story in the Herald on Sunday said the motion would mean campaigners would be barred from participating in the official Yes campaign if they referred to “a trans woman as a biological man”. This is referred to as an example of transphobia in the SNP’s code of conduct.

Responding to the article, Cherry tweeted: “Perhaps the proposers of the motion could confirm there’s no intention to silence or marginalise gender critical feminists or people with the protected characteristic of same sex orientation and then the upset could be alleviated?”

Russell replied: “There is no such intention.”

He added that the suggestion those who held gender-critical views would be excluded from the official Yes campaign was "nonsensical” and was “upsetting good Indy supporters”.

Cherry said she hoped “other proposers of the motion will feel able to give the same reassurance”.

Russell told the Herald on Sunday the motion – which has not yet been formally adopted and will be debated by SNP members later in the year – sought to ensure the “highest quality of inclusive debate”.