Top SNP man: We should resist rush for new independence vote

EU and UK flags fly above the EU Commission offices in Westminster, London. Some political figures have suggested that June's Leave vote may spur the break-up of the UK.

EU and UK flags fly above the EU Commission offices in Westminster, London. Some political figures have suggested that June's Leave vote may spur the break-up of the UK.

A former SNP leader has warned members against starting a premature “feeding frenzy” over a second independence referendum.

Gordon Wilson, who led the party in the 1980s, said candidates vying to be Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy would “demonstrate lack of mature judgement” if they pitched their stall on pushing for an early referendum.

In a message to candidates, Mr Wilson said: “Be careful you do not start a feeding frenzy over a second independence referendum.

“I know your views on independence form an essential part of your presentation to the party membership but don’t paint Nicola Sturgeon into a corner.

“I know the temptations. I have been there. But the decision whether to hold another independence referendum cannot be rushed.

“It is time for cool calculation and wise political decisions.

“A second ‘go’ on independence is inevitable. But until we know we can win, we should ca’ canny.

“So in Scotland’s interests, please exercise constraint and don’t build up irresistible pressure on Nicola as she contemplates strategy.

“Commenting on the type of campaign you would urge and what role you would play is constructive, but increasing fervour for an early referendum when the determining issues have yet to materialise, let alone be analysed and decided, would demonstrate lack of mature judgement.

“So play safe, gentlemen.”

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said Scotland “is on the brink of independence” as he launched his deputy leadership bid on Friday.

The Moray MP said the deputy leader “has a big role in order to make this happen - developing our policy, strategy and tactics to win”.

Alyn Smith, the SNP MEP who received a standing ovation for his appeal to Brussels to recognise Scotland’s vote to remain, launched his bid on Thursday pledging to nurture “the wider independence movement”.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard announced his intention to stand to “prepare for the challenges ahead, including IndyRef2 when it comes”.

Inverclyde SNP councillor Chris McEleny said he would use the deputy leader platform to energise the party’s grassroots to convert No voters to the cause of independence starting this summer.