JOANNA Cherry has insisted the SNP must consider Alex Salmond’s idea of fielding one Yes candidate in each constituency at the General Election.

In a column for The National, the Edinburgh South West MP said it would offer a “strong opportunity to defeat the Unionist parties” by moving their attention away from SNP difficulties and Holyrood policy issues and onto the central argument that “things will only change in Scotland with independence”.

She highlighted how support for independence currently outstrips that for the SNP, according to recent polls.

She said: “Such a platform would unite all those who support independence under one banner and given that support for independence now outstrips support for the SNP that can only be a good thing for my party.

READ MORE: King and Queen to be honoured at a national service

“I don’t see what the SNP would have to lose from Alex Salmond’s proposal. Effectively, our sitting MPs (or our replacements for those standing down) would be the candidates in all 45 seats that we currently hold, badged as “SNP, Scotland United for Independence”.

“The Alba members would fight the two seats they currently represent. After all, one of them was won by an independence candidate in the first place and as regards to the second, frankly all forecasts show the SNP losing it.

“The remaining 10 seats would be distributed among SNP, Scottish Greens, Alba and perhaps some independent candidates from the Yes movement, with most of them going to the SNP in recognition of our dominance.

“I know some of my colleagues will find it very hard to swallow their pride, having participated in attempts to trash Alex’s reputation for the last few years.

“However, others will be more thoughtful and acknowledge that in taking the SNP into government and to the brink of success in the independence referendum, Alex has proved himself a master strategist and therefore his proposal is worthy of consideration.”

READ MORE: Kate Forbes takes on role as tourism ambassador for the Highlands

She added Salmond’s recent performances on Question Time and Debate Night serve as a reminder of “what he has to offer the movement”.

Cherry added she was not surprised the party’s independence convention later this month had become a “talking shop” after it was confirmed no official decision would be reached on strategy going forward.

She insisted the event should have remained a special conference - which would have had the authority to rule on a strategy – so the party could get out there and campaign on the “bread-and-butter issues”.

There was heavy criticism in the wake of the decision with some SNP sources calling it “moronic”, but depute leader Keith Brown and Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn insisted it was the “right process”.

Cherry said: “Senior unnamed sources were harsh in their criticism. I was not one of them. Firstly because I prefer to put my name to my views but also because I don’t know why anyone was surprised.

"A 'convention' has no status in the party’s constitution. Only conference can make policy decisions.

“In my opinion, what the SNP should be doing this month is holding the special conference originally scheduled for March of this year to finalise our independence strategy and then focusing on campaigning on the bread-and-butter issues.

“We need to move away from talking about process and on to explaining to people why we need independence.”