A FORMER special adviser to Nicola Sturgeon has described the plan to approach the next general election as a de facto independence referendum as “one of the daftest ideas I’ve heard”.

The SNP is set to hold a special conference in March to decide on route forward to independence following the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Holyrood could not hold indyre2 without Westminster consent.

Campbell Gunn, who also worked for Alex Salmond and Sturgeon between 2013 and 2016 said that no matter the outcome of a de facto referendum, Westminster would ignore the result.

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Writing in the Press and Journal, he said: “Just because one party says they’ll campaign only on a single issue, it doesn’t make the election about that.

“The other parties will ignore it and fight on their manifestos as usual. The ‘referendum’ will have no legal standing.

“And no matter the outcome, Westminster will, justifiably, ignore it.”

He also added that he felt Scottish independence “no longer appears to be the issue driving many members of the party”.

This comes after MP Stewart McDonald published a paper ahead of next month’s conference in which he warned that a de facto referendum “will not deliver independence”.

The MP for Glasgow South stepped down recently after Stephen Flynn took over as the SNP’s leader in Westminster.

McDonald said: “The UK Government will not open independence negotiations following a de facto referendum.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has previously said he “can’t imagine the circumstances” in which he would allow a referendum on independence to take place.

Gunn also outlined his position on Scotland’s gender legislation which was last month blocked by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

He said: “No matter how worthy and correct the introduction of the gender reform act was, pressing ahead with it showed a lack of political judgement.”