Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has accused the First Minister of leaving the Scottish independence movement “stranded” and at risk of splintering. In a letter, Mr Sillars urged Nicola Sturgeon to consider the role parties such as the newly formed Alliance for Independence could play.
The veteran politician who served as deputy leader of the SNP said Ms Sturgeon should “exercise some wisdom” and consider the situation from the perspective of the broader Independence movement, rather than just from a party political stance.
Holyrood uses the Additional Member system meaning voters have two votes in elections.
In the first vote, a voter chooses a candidate to represent one of Scotland’s 73 constituencies and each constituency elects one MSP.
A second vote is used to select 56 additional members who represent eight different parliamentary regions.
However, in the second vote, the electorate picks a party rather than a candidate.
Several MSPs have pointed out this can make it difficult for one party to get a majority.
Mr Sillars argued Ms Sturgeon has “led the independence movement up the political hill and left it stranded there”, and now faces the “possible consequences of it splintering as it comes down it”.
He added: “She now has to exercise some wisdom, take off the party hat and put on the movement one.”
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“The tragedy will be if Ms Sturgeon does not realise that those who form the Alliance have as much right to contribute to strategy and tactics as she.
“The sensible thing now would be to talk to them.”
Mr Sillars insisted the “strategic objective” in the Holyrood ballot should be to “amass an overwhelming majority of MSPs committed beyond all doubt to claiming a mandate for another referendum, a mandate the size of which any UK Government would find difficult to refuse”.
The former Labour MP joined the SNP before famously winning the Glasgow Govan seat from his old party in a by-election in 1988.