SNP Could Lose MPs Next Year And Still Demand Independence Negotiations With UK Government

The party has agreed on yet another new policy on how to break up the United Kingdom.
Humza Yousaf welcomed the new policy.
Humza Yousaf welcomed the new policy.
Jane Barlow - PA Images via Getty Images

The SNP could lose more than a dozen MPs at next year’s general election and still claim they have a mandate for Scottish independence.

At the party’s autumn conference in Aberdeen, delegates agreed that having a majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster would be enough to trigger negotiations with the UK government.

That means the party’s target is having at least 29 MPs, which is 14 fewer than they have at the moment.

Under the Westminster voting system, they could even achieve that total with less than 40% of the vote.

A Scottish Labour source told HuffPost UK the SNP’s position was “an absolute farce”.

“They will declare independence if they lose seats but get a majority of Scottish MPs,” the source said. “The public won’t take them seriously any more.”

The new policy is a shift from what was previously proposed by SNP leader Humza Yousaf, who had claimed that just having the most Scottish MPs was enough to begin talks with Westminster on breaking up the UK.

Previous SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who resigned in February, had wanted to turn the next election into a “de facto referendum”, meaning more than 50% of votes for pro-independence parties would have been enough for Scotland to leave the UK.

But that policy was ditched by Yousaf when he succeeded her in March.

The UK government has repeatedly refused to agree to the SNP’s demands for another Scottish independence referendum.

In November last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to stage its own referendum.

Yousaf told the SNP conference: “Come together and work like we’ve never worked before to deliver a better future for our country.”

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “This latest farcical strategy from the SNP is a complete distraction while Scots are struggling.

“The cost of living has never been higher, and our public services are at breaking point, but the SNP want to debate amongst themselves how losing seats in a general election can lead to independence.”

But Scottish Conservative constitution spokesperson Donald Cameron said: “Humza Yousaf and the SNP are committed to wasting more taxpayers’ money on independence, rather than addressing the real priorities of Scotland.”


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