Cherry urges SNP to consider Salmond’s idea of pro-independence pact

Joanna Cherry said she does not see 'what the SNP would have to lose' from the former First Minister’s proposal.

Joanna Cherry urges SNP to consider Alex Salmond’s idea of pro-independence election pact STV News

Alex Salmond’s suggestion of a pact between pro-independence parties at the next election should be discussed by the SNP, a senior member of the party has said.

Joanna Cherry said she does not see “what the SNP would have to lose” from the former First Minister’s proposal.

It comes after Salmond, who left the SNP and set up the Alba Party, suggested pro-independence parties – including the SNP, Alba and the Scottish Greens – only field one candidate in each seat in the next Westminster election.

He dubbed this as being a “Scotland united for independence pact”, adding it would result in an election debate “centred on independence and how to get it” and not on the SNP’s record in government or the “current internal difficulties of Scotland’s major party”.

Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving MP, has rejected the idea, arguing the SNP would be “severely punished” by voters if it partnered with the “toxic” Alba Party – which currently has two Scottish MPs.

However with the SNP due to hold its independence convention later this month in Dundee, Cherry said it is vital the event is used to “explore all options on the table”.

Writing in the National, she said: “That is why I think the party should be considering the option put forward in a letter from Alex Salmond to SNP MPs earlier this week.”

Salmond’s proposal would allow all current SNP and Alba MPs to fight their seats at the next general election without another pro-independence candidate standing against them.

The remaining seats would then be divided among the parties within the agreement, with the SNP guaranteed to have “the lion’s share” of these.

Cherry, the MP for Edinburgh South West, said: “The idea of having a single independence mandate candidate in each parliamentary constituency would offer us a strong opportunity to defeat the unionist parties by moving them off the ground upon which they will want to fight – SNP difficulties, policy issues at Holyrood – on to the ground on which we want to fight, the argument that things will only change in Scotland with independence.

“Such a platform would unite all those who support independence under one banner and given that support for independence now outstrips support for the SNP, that can only be a good thing for my party.

“In fact, I don’t see what the SNP would have to lose from Alex Salmond’s proposal. Effectively, our sitting MPs (or our replacements for those standing down) would be the candidates in all 45 seats that we currently hold, badged as ‘SNP, Scotland United for Independence’.”

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