THE SNP have been accused of showing “contempt” for the grassroots Yes movement after announcing their special convention for the same day as a planned independence rally.

All Under One Banner (AUOB) had announced plans to hold a Yes demonstration in Stirling on June 24, and invited First Minister Humza Yousaf to attend.

The SNP leader declined the invitation, but said that a “senior member of the SNP team will be able to join and address the AUOB rally on 24 June 2023”.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf responds to invite to upcoming independence rally in Stirling

Later on Saturday, the party announced that it would hold a special independence convention – which will be open to SNP members only – at Caird Hall in Dundee on the same date in June.

AUOB have hit out at the clash, claiming it showed contempt to their grassroots efforts.

The group said: “We wrote to Humza inviting him to speak at Stirling 24 June, and received a weird reply – swiftly followed by news that he's chosen to clash with the national demonstration by holding a SNP conference on the same day. Why?”

They added: “Reactionary and contemptuous. De facto anti-Yes behaviour.”

The SNP event had previously been scheduled for March 19 but was postponed due to Nicola Sturgeon's resignation. It was previously referred to as a "special democracy conference".

The National: Keith Brown on the BBC Sunday Show

The SNP’s depute leader, Keith Brown (above), said of the June convention: “We have won election after election and have a cast iron mandate for a fresh independence referendum – but the Westminster system is refusing to respect Scotland’s democratic wishes.

“As the only mass membership political party in Scotland we are calling on our members – the lifeblood of our party and movement – to help us secure that key vote that our country needs.

“Members from every corner of Scotland will join Humza Yousaf, Stephen Flynn and representatives from across the party for the one-day independence convention event in Dundee."

AUOB held a rally in Glasgow on May 6, to coincide with the King's coronation. It was attended by an estimated 20,000 people

Yousaf had accepted an invitation to speak at the event during the SNP leadership campaign, but as First Minister instead attended the monarch's event in London. 

It comes as the Independence Minister, Jamie Hepburn, told the BBC’s Sunday Show that Scotland is “not going to win independence by marching and rallying alone”.

Asked about the “big tent approach" and whether the SNP would include other groups and parties in discussions about independence, Hepburn said it would – but also defended the party’s decision to hold a convention for members only.

The minister said: “Of course, yes, the independence cause doesn’t belong to the SNP. It belongs to the wider independence movement. The SNP is part of the wider independence movement, and of course in advance of a General Election it is entirely right that we consider what our particular platform will be.

“Does that mean, does that preclude us working with other parts of the independence movement? Of course not. And in that sense of course we’ll take the big tent approach.”