THE SNP announced an “independence convention” in part to break the strategic deadlock on the constitutional question – but details of what to expect from the conference are meagre.

Some in the party say privately that the “convention” is a rebrand of the proposed special SNP conference on independence which came in the wake of the indyref2 Supreme Court defeat only to be cancelled after Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation.

Regardless of whether the event lives up to its name, SNP members hope the conference will allow some concrete things to be agreed.

One MP suggested that members could agree to strategies like refining the party's independence message. They suggested the conference could agree to drawing up a list in the vein of the Government’s “five pledges” linking “bread and butter issues” like the cost of living to the independence cause.

It is understood high-ranking members of the SNP will meet this week to work out nitty-gritty details like the format of the conference and how the day will run.

READ MORE: Minister for Independence on Alister Jack, white papers and indyref2

"The widest range of ideas"

Bill Ramsay, convener of the SNP trade union group and its representative on the SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC), said: “The National Executive has still to consider structures, what might normally be described as the standing orders for this special meeting.”

Ramsay added that the conference should ideally allow for party members to hear a range of views on the strategy to secure independence.

He said: “I’m of the view that it should, at this stage, be open-ended, to allow the widest range of ideas and to be tabled and considered. However, it would be wrong at this time to come to any formal decisions, that in my view, would be for the full conference in October.”

Many within the party would be expected to agree with this to an extent – but how far remains an open question.

A senior SNP source told The National the event is not likely to be an “open forum” to exhaustively hear all views within the party – admittedly an almost impossible task for a one-day event.

What will the event look like?

There is appetite for the conference to agree on some definite measures – including the publication of new materials making the case for independence. But an SNP MP warned they must be in campaigning mode, not “academic” – in a swipe at the Scottish Government’s publication of new white papers which critics say have barely altered the arguments of 2014.

While the June conference will allow SNP members and politicians to blow off some steam about the intransigence of the UK Government who continue to block indyref2, it is limited in what it can achieve.

READ MORE: Independence Minister declines to say if he supports a civic-led Yes Convention

"Reach beyond one party"

It is an internal party event, with only SNP members invited. This has naturally attracted the ire of the Alba Party, who said the conference will be effectively meaningless without cross-party support.

Alba leader Alex Salmond said: “An independence convention must be a broad and inclusive political and civic gathering of the independence movement. To have any impact at all it clearly has to reach beyond any one political party.”

The event also only lasts one day – meaning it is unlikely the party will hash out a full strategy for securing an independence vote or pull out of a hat a new strategy to force indyref2.

'General' terms

One source suggested it would be an opportunity to decide in general terms the way forward for the SNP on the constitutional question. This could settle whether the de facto strategy is a goer (both Ash Regan and Pete Wishart think it should be explored) or whether it should be consigned to history.

They also suggested the party must campaign to put permanently into the hands of the Scottish Government the power to hold constitutional referenda – which could rely on the British electorate returning a hung parliament next year.

But some in the party feel Labour may be weakened if Keir Starmer gets to No 10 without winning a Scottish mandate and may be susceptible to influence from the SNP on giving Scotland a say on its constitutional future.

While contained within the SNP, the conference will give that party some idea of the route it wants to take in the push for independence.

This means there will be some small progress on the constitutional question which has arguably been in a coma since November last year.