THE SNP’s policy development convener has said he “fundamentally disagrees” with Stephen Noon’s suggestion that Nicola Sturgeon should compromise on her plans for an independence referendum.

In an interview with The Times, Noon, 51, said he would “argue his heart and soul for independence” but that it “may not be the point we get to in the immediate future”. 

Noon served as a senior policy adviser to Alex Salmond before working as the chief strategist for the Yes Scotland campaign. 

He added that although independence supporters may not get 100% of what they want, 90% might be good enough. 

READ MORE: Stephen Noon urges First Minister to compromise on plans for independence

Speaking to The National, SNP policy development convener Toni Giugliano said: “I absolutely don’t doubt Stephen Noon’s commitment to independence as he himself has stated in this interview. 

“However, I fundamentally disagree with him on the point around what is essentially reform of the UK. 

“There is a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament which must be upheld.”

The Scottish Government is still engaged in a legal battle with the UK Supreme Court to reach a consensus on whether or not they can call a referendum without Westminster’s consent. 

Giugliano continued: “Scotland has no influence in the reform process of the UK. We’ve had Scottish prime ministers who failed to go down the route of federalism or to reform the House of Lords so what are the chances of reform now with a hard-right Thatcher wannabe whose party has ripped Scotland out of Europe, inflicted hardship on millions and who is a Brexit candidate.

“We don’t set the agenda on the reform process of the UK. If we were able to do that, it would have happened long ago.”

If the Scottish Government is unable to hold a second independence referendum, currently scheduled for October 19 2023, then Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to make the next Westminster election a “de facto referendum” on independence. 

However, Noon said this would be “another point of escalation” in the Scottish political landscape and urged for some kind of compromise “where we might not get what we want, but we might get what the people of Scotland want”.

Giugliano said: “We can’t roll back on respecting the outcome of elections. That sets a dangerous precedent. 

“There’s a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament which must be upheld.”

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald shared a similar view, saying “people in Scotland voted for an independence referendum” and that the Government “intends to deliver on that mandate”.

She continued: “Independence is the only way for Scotland to regain our place in Europe and keep Scotland safe from Westminster governments we don’t vote for imposing damaging policies like Brexit and austerity cuts. 

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“The SNP has been pushing for more powers for Scotland over energy, employment, borrowing and many other areas – but further devolution has been blocked by the Westminster parties. 

“The fact Westminster is now refusing to use its reserved powers to tackle the Tory-made cost of living crisis demonstrates clearly why Scotland needs the full powers of independence so we are no longer at the mercy of Westminster control.”

Speaking on Times Radio, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he did have “some sympathy and agreement with Stephen”, as he stressed the importance of “trying to reach a consensus” in the political debate which can “bring people together”. 

Blackford said: “I think what we really need to do, all of us, is stand and extend the hand of friendship to those in other parties.

“We really need to have a debate about what kind of Scotland that we want to live in. 

“We’re living through the cost-of-living crisis just now and we want to see this being dealt with in a different way.

“So let’s have that debate. And let’s have it respectfully.”

Both Tory leadership candidates have ruled out granting a second independence referendum.

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Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss continue to battle it out over who will succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister with the winner set to be announced on Monday September 5. 

Blackford added: “But I think it’s right that having had that manifesto commitment on delivering independence, and an independence referendum, that’s exactly what the Scottish Government should have been doing.”