SNP to stage series of 'national assemblies' in summer independence drive
The SNP is to stage a series of "national assemblies" over the summer in another attempt to convince sceptical Scots to back independence, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The events will be held on the back of the publication of a new report setting out a fresh economic case for Scotland going it alone.
They will come just two years after the SNP organised a "summer of independence" drive to boost support for leaving the UK.
Ms Sturgeon asked former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson to lead a Sustainable Growth Commission and its 354-page report, called 'Scotland – the new case for optimism: a strategy for inter-generational economic renaissance' will be published on Friday.
It will examine the opportunities for growing the economy of an independent Scotland, how it could achieve "sustainable public finances" and what its currency options would be.
Crucially, however, it will not contain any recommendations about the possible timing of a second independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon said it would kickstart "a debate based on hope and ambition about the future of the country, rather than on the despair of Brexit".
"Scotland has strong foundations in business, in innovation and in our talented workforce – but we need to maximise our strengths to match the economic performance of successful independent nations of comparable size," she said.
"At a time when economic thinking and debate is heavily focused on how we limit the damaging impacts of Brexit on Scotland, this report provides an opportunity to step back, to look at Scotland’s economic future with optimism and to focus on how we seize our opportunities and achieve our full potential as a nation.
"The report of the Growth Commission does not shy away from Scotland’s challenges – instead it looks at how we can address these challenges positively and in line with our core values as a nation.
"It is not a report about the timing of a referendum – rather, it focuses on the ‘why’ of independence and how we can use the powers it will deliver to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.
"In so doing, it heralds the start of a debate based on hope and ambition about the future of the country, rather than on the despair of Brexit.
"It is now for the SNP to consider the report’s recommendations. All members will have the chance to discuss the report in detail at local and national events over the summer, and to listen to the views of people across the country before the party takes a formal view on the report’s recommendations."
Andrew Wilson said: "Scotland – the new case for optimism – sets out an ambitious but achievable prospectus, and its publication will mark the beginning of fresh debate on Scotland’s economic future"