SNP crisis: Scottish nationalists threatened by split as rivals plan secret ‘comeback’

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The SNP could massively struggle to hold onto their “broad” range of independence supporters as another party looks to be forming, Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Briggs has said. He spoke to Express.co.uk about the significance of next year’s Holyrood elections following polls predicting a landslide for Nicola Sturgeon’s party. Mr Briggs dismissed suggestions that an SNP win could pressure Boris Johnson into granting Scotland a second referendum.

He said: “What’s really interesting at the minute is that we’re really seeing the SNP start to split.

“There’s now talk of another independence party standing on the regional list vote at next year’s election.

“We’re not really sure who’s going to be their candidate.

“But we have a former First Minister who isn’t in the SNP at the minute who might decide a comeback.”

Mr Briggs added: “I think the SNP have a lot of division themselves to really keep that broad tint of independent supporting voters together, to be honest.”

Dave Thompson, the former SNP MSP who was instrumental to the party achieving power, is supporting a new pro-independence group for Holyrood.

He said he hoped the Alliance for Independence (AFI) would “max the Yes” and win up to 24 seats on the regional list system for a decisive Nationalist majority in 2021.

The party has filed registration papers with the Electoral Commission this week.

SNP cabinet secretary Mike Russell said his old colleague was making a mistake.

He warned talk of splitting the SNP vote would be “music to the ears of the Unionists”.

Mr Briggs also told Express.co.uk: “In terms of the Prime Minister, we’ve been absolutely clear at the general elections and Holyrood elections of saying no to another independence referendum.”

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He continued: “The fundamental of what was an agreed process by David Cameron and Alex Salmond under the Edinburgh Agreement was to hold a once-in-a-generation vote.

“We all signed up to that, we all said we’d respect the result and move on.

“It’s only really the SNP, literally hours after, who haven’t.

“So I’m waiting to see where Nicola Sturgeon decides to pitch because I don’t think it will be popular in the mid-summer, post-COVID economic downturn for her to only be saying to people let’s start arguing amongst ourselves over the constitution.

“I don’t think she’ll do that so I don’t think the PM will have that day after the election phone call to make.”

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