Scotland politics

SNP independence campaign 'starts today', conference told

Angus Robertson
Angus Robertson told the conference "we will work as hard as possible"

The SNP has officially launched its drive for independence, announcing details of an "unprecedented" campaign to win the forthcoming referendum.

Campaign chief Angus Robertson told his party's conference the SNP would appeal to people from all political backgrounds to secure a "yes" vote.

The campaign has also been boosted with a £1m bequest from Scotland's former national poet, makar Edwin Morgan.

The SNP will hold the referendum near the end of the five-year parliament.

The party is coming under pressure from opposition politicians to hold the vote now, but the Nationalists say they are sticking to a manifesto commitment to stage it later, although they have still to name the date.

Addressing the final day of the first SNP conference since its landslide election win in May, Mr Robertson said: "Today, we are announcing that the independence referendum campaign is starting.

"We will work as hard as possible in an unprecedented national campaign to secure the majority 'yes' vote for a sovereign independent Scotland."

Mr Robertson, the SNP's Westminster leader, said the campaign would first seek to galvanise backing among party members, before aiming to win support for independence among people from other parties, as well as those with no political affiliation.

The Moray MP said the party would also reach out to people and communities across Scotland, street-by-street.

Mr Robertson also said the £918,000 donation from Mr Morgan, who died last year at the age of 90, was "ring-fenced" for the referendum campaign.

He told the packed conference hall in Inverness: "Fellow nationalists - this is it. It's starting.

"This is the roadmap to independence - the biggest ever campaign in our history, reaching every household, every voter in Scotland.

"We will speak with as many voters as possible - supporters, waverers and people who have yet to be convinced."

Mr Robertson declared: "This campaign is not for the SNP - it is a campaign for Scotland.

"This is a campaign for everyone who lives in this country, regardless of where you come from.

"This is a campaign to secure the best for our communities. This is a campaign to secure the best for our families and society.

"This campaign is for everyone, regardless of which party you have voted for."

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