The SNP will propose another independence referendum in its Scottish election manifesto, the former depute leader has said.
Jim Sillars claimed party members will demand a promise to hold another vote on independence is the “first line” of the SNP’s 2016 Holyrood manifesto.
He said any other move would be “astonishing” and likely trigger a backlash from the tens of thousands of new members who joined after Scots voted to stay in the Union last September.
Mr Sillars said: “I can’t see a membership of 100,000 which came in on the independence issue not demanding that in the manifesto.
“It would be astonishing if you joined the SNP because you desire independence as soon as you can possibly get it and not expect it to be in the manifesto.”
When questioned on the comments at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Let me make this quite clear: I have the greatest respect for Jim Sillars, but the clue is in the title ‘former deputy leader of the SNP’.”
“I am the current leader of the SNP, so let me say this clearly once again.
“This election is not about independence or a referendum.”