Former First Minister Alex Salmond has written to the SNP and the Scottish Greens calling for an independence convention where each constituency would field just one pro-independence candidate at the next UK general election.
In a letter to Humza Yousaf, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, Salmond said he has been “publicly extolling the virtues of the pro-independence parties fielding one agreed independence candidate” at each Scottish seat at the next UK-wide poll.
It read: “As you will know, I have been publicly extolling the virtues of the pro-independence parties fielding one agreed independence candidate in each Scottish seat at the next UK general election, on a manifesto commitment seeking a mandate to negotiate independence.
“I have no doubt that such a move would result in the election of a significantly larger contingent of nationalist MPs to deliver on that mandate, than would be the case if the election is conducted in the usual fashion.
“I would be happy to meet privately on a one-to-one basis to discuss the issue further.
“Please let me know if you would be willing to do so.”
Salmond addressed his party’s spring conference in Inverness on Saturday.
The former first minister told delegates: “Let me say this to my SNP colleagues: Why go cap in hand to unionists when we should be campaigning head held high with fellow nationalists?
“Why are we trying to organise coalitions with the British Establishment? The only coalitions we should be organising are with Scottish Nationalists – with the parties and the movement.
“Unionists will never deliver for Scotland. Not in Westminster, not in the Supreme Court. That is the lesson of recent history – so, learn it.
“The cause of Scotland is bigger than that of any one political party. Indeed, it is bigger than all political parties. It is time for the independence movement to unite to declare its own independence from any political party.
“To be most effective, this effort has to be co-ordinated. Right now there are moves under way to bring the national movement together. Alba will support, or indeed, if necessary, initiate these efforts.
“A nation where half of the population supports independence has to be ready to seize political opportunity. We have moved into a position where the people are ahead of the politicians, and therefore the people have to take the lead.”
Despite showing a desire to work with both parties, Salmond appeared to attack First Minister Mr Yousaf over his comments appearing to question the provision of universal free school meals to children.
He also called for the SNP to “bin” the Bute House agreement between the SNPs and the Scottish Greens.
Salmond added: “The new First Minister does not understand the concept of universality.
“Well it may be a sign of financial pressure on the devolved administration, but it is more than that. It is an indication that the new First Minister does not understand the concept of universality.
“It is a concept which is designed to promote social solidarity. As first minister I introduced the social wage – the idea that, yes, those who can afford it should bear the heaviest burden, but in turn key social benefits on offer would be universal – available to all.
“Meanwhile, the new First Minister needs to sort out his Government. Back in 2014 not even our most bitter opponent attempted to argue that the SNP Government did not run a competent administration at Holyrood.
“Now the failings of the SNP/Green administration are used by our opponents to attack independence.
“Bin the the Highly Protected Marine Area proposals. They are causing consternation around the fishing communities. Bin them now.
“Bin the proposals for juryless trials. They are causing consternation among every decent lawyer in Scotland. Bin them now.
“Bin the pursuit of self-identification. The proposals have caused consternation among the majority of people in Scotland. You can’t beat Westminster by dividing Scotland. Bin them now.”