SCOTLAND’S leading trade union body is “open” to participating in a constitutional convention which the SNP have pledged to establish under their independence strategy.

Church leaders and representatives of the legal profession have also suggested they would be willing to look at any invitation to take part.

Under plans drawn up by First Minister Humza Yousaf, winning a majority of seats at the General Election would be a mandate for independence negotiations with the UK Government.

At the SNP’s conference in October, it was also agreed this should be “taken forward by a constitutional convention constituted by the MPs elected to Westminster, MSPs and representatives of civic Scotland” following an amendment put forward by SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

The Sunday National asked a number of civic bodies – including some which participated in the Scottish Constitutional Convention which created the Scottish Parliament – if they would take part.

The National: Roz Foyer

Roz Foyer, general secretary of the STUC, said: “Subject to clearly defined terms of reference, including the space to talk about further devolution short of full independence, the STUC would be open to participation.

“Workers across the country are experiencing a decimation of their living standards not seen for generations.

“Our participation in a convention therefore would put the concerns of working people front and centre in examining any potential progressive movement for change, centred around the constitution or otherwise.”

A spokesperson for the Law Society of Scotland said it was strictly non-partisan, with members holding a range of views including on the question of Scottish independence.

He added: “We often contribute to informed debate in the public interest, focusing on our expertise around legal and constitutional matters.

“We engage with all major political parties who have representatives elected by the Scottish public and will continue to play a role in the public discourse on Scotland’s future.

“Any invitation to participate in a constitutional convention would be considered by our governing council.”

'The church is always willing to explore ideas about the values and ethics involved in political decisions'

Emma Jackson, vice-convener of the Church of Scotland’s Faith Action Programme, said that in May this year, the General Assembly had reaffirmed a position first taken 10 years ago that the church – “as an institution” – will remain impartial on Scottish independence and on whether a new referendum should be held.

She added: “The church is always willing to explore ideas about the values and ethics involved in political decisions with parliamentarians and wider civic society.

“We regularly talk with leaders across the political spectrum and will continue to do so.”

However, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “The Catholic Church has not previously been involved in constitutional deliberations and would not be in future as the church considers them entirely civic matters.”

The first meeting of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which led to the creation of Holyrood, took place on March 30, 1989 in the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh and was attended by MPs, councillors, clergy, trade unionists, businessmen and academics.

The Tories did not take part from the outset, while the SNP’s national council voted against participating, with concerns raised that it would not succeed and was a Labour “trap” to lure the party into campaigning for devolution.

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The first meeting of the convention adopted a declaration that it would agree to a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland, “mobilise” Scottish opinion and make sure that people backed it and “assert the right” of the Scottish people to secure the implementation of that scheme.

It laid the groundwork for Labour’s inclusion of a policy for devolution in their 1997 election manifesto.

The Sunday National also asked Scotland’s political parties to comment on the SNP’s proposals.

Willie Rennie, of the Scottish LibDems, which supported the convention which led to the Scottish Parliament, said: “No-one seriously believes that an election in which the SNP lose a dozen seats would represent a mandate for a constitutional convention and the break-up of the UK. SNP activists should be angry at their party leaders for stringing them along.

“A constitutional convention would be better focused on how to deliver a shift in powers to local government and away from SNP ministers who always think they know best.”