A group of prominent Scots – including politicians, musicians, playwrights and trade unionists – have signed a declaration calling for an independent Scottish republic.

Current signatories include two SNP MPs – Tommy Sheppard and Anne McLaughlin – as well as Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman, playwright and novelist Alan Bissett, folk singer Iona Fyfe and LGBT+ trade union activist Leslie Cunningham.

Initiated by the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), the “Declaration of Calton Hill” calls for the dissolution of the UK state, the abolishment of the monarchy and the creation of an elected Scottish Government with “full control”. 

The declaration is also endorsed by Our Republic, an advocacy group also calling for the abolition of the monarchy.

READ MORE: The Declaration of Calton Hill: A independent Scottish republic

Launching a call for further signatures, the campaign is also organising a protest on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill to coincide with the coronation of King Charles on May 6 in London. 

A similar declaration under the exact same name was created by the Scottish Socialist Party and made on October 9, 2004 at Calton Hill. At that time, the now late Queen Elizabeth I was officially opening the new Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood.

SNP MP for Edinburgh East, Tommy Sheppard, said of the declaration: “It’s a pledge of support for the principle of the Scottish Republic.

The National: Tommy SheppardTommy Sheppard (Image: NQ)

“It's a concise, contemporary iteration of popular sovereignty and the right of the people to run their own affairs. That's a very old principle. But it's as relevant today as it ever was.

“Choosing Saturday, May 6, to mark this renewal of a democratic claim is something very special and stands in stark contrast to the sort of feudal, medieval, autocratic form of government that the monarchy represents.”

Speaking in a “personal capacity”, Sheppard added: “Everyone has a choice to either look back or look forward. And while some people on May 6 will be looking back to some mythical bygone age of fairy tale kings and queens, a lot of people in Scotland, and particularly those who regard themselves as democrats, will be looking forward to a society where people are in control of their own destiny and their own resources.”

Sheppard added there is a “big debate” going on inside the SNP about the monarchy and whether or not it has “had its day and should be put out to pasture and in a museum somewhere”. 

READ MORE: It's time to assert Scotland's right to an independent republic

SNP leadership hopeful Humza Yousaf previously argued that Scotland should consider ditching the monarchy within the first five years of independence.

A survey by Panelbase commissioned by the Alba party last year also found that a majority of Scots want to see an independent Scotland become a republic with an elected head of state, rather than a monarch. A poll commissioned exclusively for The National this year also revealed 72% of Scots want Prince Andrew stripped of his Earl of Inverness title.

SNP MP Anne McLaughlin, who represents Glasgow North East, said Scottish independence is about building a “fairer nation” for everyone and handing back control to the Scottish people.

The National: Anne McLaughlinAnne McLaughlin

She added: “And that’s why the principles of the Calton Hill Declaration -  liberty, equality, diversity, and solidarity are so essential.    

“The UK Government’s recent lurch to the right on immigration and human rights protections is extremely worrying and simply doesn’t reflect the will and the warmth of the people of Scotland.  We need to be in full control of our country, not tethered to Westminster

“With the upcoming coronation of the King later this year the conversation about Scotland’s relationship with the monarchy has never been more relevant. I have long held the opinion that sovereignty lies with the people of a nation, not an individual, and this belief is reflected in the principles of the Calton Hill Declaration.” 

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman called herself a “republican” and a “democrat”. She said: “I believe that we should elect our leaders, and that they should be accountable to the people – the citizens – they serve. Having an unelected head of state who reigns over subjects is incompatible with this principle.  

The National: Maggie ChapmanMaggie Chapman

“I am also a committed peace activist and campaigner. We should be using the powers of our country for good, both here and beyond our borders. That is why I oppose nuclear weapons and the military industrial complex that is responsible for so much misery and suffering in the world.  

“Scotland is a wonderfully rich country, in terms of its people, cultures, and natural resources. We should ensure that we value this wealth, and do whatever we can to use it to the benefit of current and future generations. 

“This is why I support an independent Scottish republic built on the principles of equality, solidarity and liberty, and that embraces diversity and peace. "

The National: Alan BissettAlan Bissett

Alan Bissett said he signed the declaration because he quite simply agrees with everything said in it. 

He said: “I want to see a fully-democratic, independent Scottish republic one day and I think that especially with all the turmoil within the SNP just now, and in the movement more broadly, it's good to remind ourselves of first principles and what we're all in it for (or, at least, are supposed to be in it for).”