AN SNP councillor has called on Nicola Sturgeon to agree a cross-party manifesto pledge on independence with the Greens, the fledgling Independence for Scotland Party, the SSP and Tommy Sheridan’s Solidarity.

Chris McEleny has said that all pro-independence groups should “give the same firm commitments for a vote on independence in our 2021 manifestos” to leave the electorate in “no doubt” about their intentions.

Writing in The National today, McEleny said he wants an “incontrovertible pro-independence mandate” “secured by every single pro-independence vote”. He added there should be “grown-up” discussions between the different parties.

The councillor said such a move would help “the popular legitimacy of a Plan B” – that is where the election itself becomes a mandate for independence rather than a referendum.

It’s likely that any cross-party agreement would lead to questions from the Electoral Commission who have strict rules over parties co-operating at elections.

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Yesterday, at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister was asked if she would put a demand for a second Scottish independence referendum in next year’s manifesto.

Sturgeon pointed out that she was at “a briefing to update the Scottish public on coronavirus”.

“This is not an opportunity for me to talk about elections or manifestos and I’m just not going to do that,” she added.

“It’s really important that people watching these briefings whatever their politics, whatever their views on the Scottish constitutional question, they can listen to the Scottish Government update them and answer questions on coronavirus and I’m not going to take this briefing down that political or constitutional road.”

She continued: “The only thing that matters to me is trying to get through this as safely as possible, minimising the loss of life as much as we possibly can, keeping people safe and getting the country safely onto the other side of this.

“And I will continue to make these judgements driven by public health considerations and of course the considerations around the economy and other harms that we know lockdown have done.

“And people can have different views, they can think I’m right or wrong about that, but I’m afraid they’re not going to shake me from that.

“Politics and constitutional debates where I look forward because it will mean the pandemic is over, we can get back onto these debates rigorously in a normal way, hopefully maybe being a bit more polite to each other – learning the lessons of kindness and solidarity that have been taught to us through this pandemic.”

Last weekend, a new poll for Panelbase put support for yes at 54%.

The survey also predicted the SNP winning a total of 74 MSPs.