THE SNP’s latest proposal for achieving Scottish independence will never be taken seriously by the international community, one of the party’s MPs has insisted.

SNP members are set to vote on a potential new policy at the party’s conference next month which would theoretically see talks on leaving the UK start if they win the most seats at the next General Election.  

Pete Wishart (below)  has claimed this would not be “democratically credible” on the world stage and has insisted the right to negotiate independence should be based on the SNP getting a majority of votes, not seats.

However, other sources from within the party have suggested they have been left with no other choice but to work with the Westminster system to try and put Scotland on the road to self-determination.

The National:

Wishart told The National there are no “shortcuts” to independence and there was only one way to achieve it – getting the majority of the Scottish people on side, rather than "playing the Westminster game". 

READ MORE: Half of Edinburgh's Labour group facing code breach investigations

He said: “It’s a really good motion and if we just replace that word ‘seats’ with ‘votes’, you’d have the ideal motion.

“My view is that we have to have credibility behind our plan and it just wouldn’t be credible to go to the international community and assert our claim to be an independent nation if we didn’t have the majority of votes behind us.

'We must have a de facto referendum' 

“I think that’s just clear, regardless of what we might feel about playing the Westminster game or system, I’m not interested in that. I just want independence for my country and I don’t believe that it is at all possible until you have the majority of the Scottish people voting in favour of that proposition.

“There are no shortcuts to this.

“We have a majority of MPs now, we’ve had it since 2015. So we’re not really asking to do anything different. I just get the sense, from discussions I’ve had with people in the party, that doing all the old things again isn’t delivering anymore and what we need is an opportunity to express that the majority of people in Scotland want Scotland to be independent and we can only do that if we fight the next election as a real de facto referendum.”

The motion – which was drafted following a series of eight regional assemblies over the summer - also outlines next steps, including publishing a document, "Withdrawal from Westminster – a New Partnership Agreement", which would set out detailed terms the SNP would seek in discussions with the UK Government.

The National: Pete Wishart says the only way to achieve independence is through a majority of votes, not seatsPete Wishart says the only way to achieve independence is through a majority of votes, not seats (Image: PA)

The document would also include draft legal text on the transfer of powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament necessary to prepare for independence.

The motion proposes that a nationwide consultation on a draft interim constitution should be conducted, which would then be the founding document of an independent Scotland.

READ MORE: Labour majority at risk as support drifts back to SNP, poll finds

Finally, it suggests establishing an EU envoy position in Brussels. Taken up by a representative of the Scottish Government, they would prepare the ground for Scotland to become an independent member state of the EU. 

'It needs to be votes'

A former NEC member said he was “at a loss” as to why the motion focuses on seats rather than votes.

He said: “For a variety of reasons it needs to be votes, I'm at a loss to understand why the drafters of the resolution cannot grasp that.

“You can't just dissolve the Union if the majority of those that do vote in an election where that is on the table vote against it.  It's no different to being dragged out of the EU against our will.

“The motion lacks a recognition that this needs to be our strategy going forward at every future UK General Election - that we need to count votes for all independence supporting candidates towards a majority, that we need a credible Plan B, and that we need to work together with the whole of the Yes movement to plan, campaign, and move forward after a victory.”

'We can't have debate in isolation'

Toni Giugliano, the SNP’s policy chief, said: “It's the delegates who will have the final say in determining which resolutions will ultimately become party policy.

“The SNP must have a frank and thorough grassroots-led debate about how we achieve an internationally recognised route to independence. But we can't have this debate in isolation - people are struggling with a Westminster-made cost of living crisis - we must articulate why independence offers us a tangible alternative to Brexit Britain - and why Scotland urgently needs the powers of a normal independent country.”

'We have to play by the rulebook' 

Another SNP source admitted the proposal was not “ideal” but strengthens Scotland’s position, even if the UK Government don’t engage in negotiations.

The source said “The ideal situation is we have a referendum and more than 50% vote for independence, but if Westminster are not going to let us do that then we have to play by the rulebook that we have.

READ MORE: Scottish island tourist attraction proposes entry fee amid surge in visitors

“If we win a majority of seats, that’s a win in an election and a win is a mandate to put forward your policies.”

Asked how things would work if the UK Government refused to negotiate, they said: “If we speak to the UK Government and say’ we’re breaking away, we need to speak about how this is going to work’, and they say no, then that’s just another clarification they don’t care and I think that would have an effect on people in Scotland.”

What did readers say?

Anne Foster said she thought the assertion of independence should be based on votes and not seats.

She said: “If the people of Scotland want independence then the majority will win. To tamper with the adhered to voting policy now smacks of  desperation on part of the SNP.”

Anne Davies added: “Independence is now urgent as Westminster are riding roughshod over devolution. I support whatever is the quickest approach. I trust SNP to do the right thing, but would also back a de facto referendum.”

Jane Davidson said she was fully behind the motion.

She said: “If the election is fought on this premise then it cannot be denied that the will of the Scottish people through the ballot box is given - a majority government for independence.  50%+1 will be almost impossible to achieve in a GE and would just result in everything stagnating.”

Robert Fraser added: “Gaining half the seats was accepted for decades as a trigger for independence negotiations. And the policy doesn't bar a de facto referendum in any way: let's go for an indy majority as well.”