AN SNP MP has called on the independencem movement to “get its boots back on and prepare to start marching once again.”

Writing for the Wings Over Scotland site, Kenny MacAskill said now was the time for a “huge rally on an unprecedented scale”.

The comments were criticised by some of his party colleagues, who said it was still too dangerous to be marching.

On the blog, the former justice secretary said “in the new world brought about by coronavirus” it would be hard for the Yes movement to canvass and leaflet in the traditional manner.

He said: “Some activists for understandable reasons will not wish to do it. More importantly many of the public will not welcome it. Even with a face mask, chapping a door will be frowned on and could be counterproductive at this time. Even putting a leaflet through a door will raise concerns,” he wrote.

The East Lothian MP added: “That’s why marching must begin. Socially distanced it must be, and respectful of the guidance provided. But it’s essential.

“Smaller marches in deprived housing schemes will show that the cause is still alive in areas that have been suffering.

“Moreover, a huge rally on an unprecedented scale is required to show that this is the demand of the Scottish people.

“It’s time once again to show that independence is on the march.”

Last month, All Under One Banner announced plans to resume independence marches but only when Scotland moves into phase four of the Scottish Government’s plans to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Speaking at yesterday’s coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said it was “not impossible” that Scotland might stay in phase three for some time yet.

The First Minister said that Scotland would only be able to enter phase four of the route map out of lockdown when the “virus no longer presents a significant threat to public health”

“We’re not anywhere near that right now,” she added.

“I said in Parliament, last week that we would stay in phase three for now, and when it comes to the next review in just under three weeks, it is quite possible that at that point we will stay in phase three as well, because this virus is still a threat to public health, and until we are in a different position, that is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.”

Responding to MacAskill’s blog post, the former SNP candidate Toni Giugliano, tweeted: ”Have a look at the demographics of the seats we need to gain for a Holyrood majority and tell me this is the answer. Local campaigning will need to adapt but still massively safer than a rally in the middle of a pandemic.”

One SNP source told The National: “Asking our supporters to go marching in the middle of a pandemic isn’t a great idea.

“Look at what’s going on around the world. We’re on the cusp of a second wave. A massive march is going to be a terrible idea right up until the virus is under control.”