AN independence convention could start by considering the issue of who has the right to decide Scotland’s constitutional future, with Unionist parties invited to participate, an Alba MP has suggested.

A call by Alex Salmond’s party for a wider discussion on Scotland’s future involving political parties and wider society has come under renewed focus after the SNP announced it was holding a one-day convention for party members next month.

SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano said the party must “have space” to decide their preferred route to independence and a wider convention should wait until after the next General Election.

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But while welcoming her party’s convention in June, former SNP leadership contender Ash Regan argued it should be “opened up” to the wider movement.

Alba MP Kenny MacAskill told the Sunday National such a convention was necessary to break the “constitutional logjam” following the decision of the Supreme Court that Holyrood does not have powers to hold a referendum.

The National: East Lothian MP, Kenny MacAskill, spoke about Scottish independence at the Wee ALBA book launch in Tranent last week

He said: “The basis of the constitutional convention should be made up of elected representatives from Scotland at Holyrood and at Westminster, they are the ones with the democratic mandate, but it should also include others from civic Scotland who should be able to participate.

“But this isn’t to be done over years.

“The suggestion that this should wait until after the next election is frankly preposterous.”

MacAskill said the SNP were entitled to hold meetings to “get their position together”, but that this could not be equated with a convention to give the basis for a “springboard” for an independence push in the Scottish and UK parliaments and internationally.

He said invites should be extended to representatives from all parties as some representatives may accept Scotland has the right to choose its own future, even if they do not support independence.

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“The convention could perhaps first of all consider who decides Scotland’s constitutional future – the democratically elected people of Scotland or an unelected Tory or other government at Westminster?” he said.

“There are people I believe who aren’t in the SNP, Alba or the Greens who actually agree with that – let’s bring them on board.

“And then obviously thereafter you have to decide what the constitutional position should be – which could be either Scotland’s demands for independence or the right to hold a referendum that that then drives forward. But of course, we should ask.”

He added: “Nobody is assuming that Ian Murray is going to be breaking down the door along with Alister Jack to get in – they should be invited – but there are others I think who may take a view that whilst they don’t necessarily support independence, they do recognise it is Scotland’s right to choose.

The National: Alister Jack

“And that is an important breakthrough as well which shouldn’t be ignored.”

It would, of course, not be the first to take place in Scotland – in the 1990s, it was a constitutional convention that developed a blueprint which would become the basis for the devolution settlement of 1988.

However, it was boycotted by the Conservatives who were hostile to the idea and the SNP, who took a “neutral” stance over concerns of a lack of debate on independence.

This time around, the SNP have yet to confirm their stance on the idea of a wider cross-party Yes convention, with Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn earlier this month declining to say whether or not he would support its creation.

MacAskill said: “What we learned from the 1990s is that you don’t just sit and wait on an election, you take control of your own destiny.

“That is why when Labour came in in 1997, Donald Dewar, to his credit, was able to simply press on with Labour’s devolution scheme.

“It didn’t go as far as I would like, but to be fair it didn’t come about because of the Labour Party, it came about because of the basis laid by the constitutional convention that handed it to them on a plate and they picked up.

“They get the credit for delivering it, but the work had been carried out by Kenyon Wright and his colleagues in the 90s, long before Labour were elected.”

In Wales, an Independent Commission is currently examining the constitutional future of the country focused on different scenarios under the models of greater devolution, federalism and independence.

Co-chair Laura McAllister, professor of public policy at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, said one aim of the commission was for Wales to proactively consider its own future.

She said: “I have always said Wales has always been reactive in these things – what if Scotland becomes independent, what if there is reunification in Ireland?

“Whereas this time we’re actually just saying ‘this is what we think would work best for Wales; and it doesn’t matter what is happening anywhere else at one level – this is what we think is the blueprint but all of this is contingent on what might happen in Scotland or Ireland or England.”

The Welsh Commission, which is due to issue its final conclusions at the end of this year, published an interim report in December which concluded there are “significant problems with the way Wales is currently governed” within the UK.

Set up by the Welsh Labour government, it has aimed to include the views of citizens communities, expert groups – as well as all political parties.

McAllister said: “We have got four parties on our commission which is quite unique I think – sitting down and talking with a Conservative and a Plaid Cymru person at the same table.”

She added: “The Tories are still vocally against it, let’s say. But we have a member of the Conservative Party on board who is engaging very constructively.

“I liaise – everyone does – with the Welsh Conservatives in the same way that we would with any other party. But the party political propaganda around it is too attractive to avoid, which is to keep saying this isn’t of interest to the Welsh population, why aren’t you concentrating on schools and hospitals.

“But that’s party politics, there is nothing we can do about that.

“They are not supportive of the commission, but they have engaged with us, they have given evidence and they have complained about things we have done and I did a fringe meeting at the Welsh Conservative conference.”

McAllister said the final report would aim to set out a “fair, balanced and objective analysis” of issues around fiscal and public expenditure constraints and service delivery relating not just to independence but also federalism and strengthening devolution.

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She added: “In a sense, it is not our role to decide how it goes forward, but what we will do is hand over the report to the Welsh Government and really it is over to the parties to decide what they are going to put in their UK manifestos.

“Obviously like Scotland really, almost all of the levers for change are still held by the UK Government.

“Therefore a UK General Election is pretty critical.”

She added: “But I think the thing for me that is really relevant for Scotland is anything we recommend will challenge the notion of parliamentary sovereignty – because even strengthening devolution requires an acceptance that there is a compromise, a restriction on parliamentary sovereignty.

“That is something the UK Government is very much not keen on.”