ASH Regan has called for the SNP’s independence convention to be “opened up” to other Yes parties and supporters.

The former SNP leadership contender called for the move in a statement released on Friday morning, where the Edinburgh Eastern MSP said she welcomed the party event but was disappointed it did not include the wider Yes movement.

It comes after SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano told The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast that the party “needs space” to thrash out its independence strategy, and that a wider Yes convention should wait until after the next General Election.

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Previously, Alba leader Alex Salmond wrote to both the SNP and Greens calling for a cross-party independence convention.

And now, Regan has said while the convention is a positive step, excluding the wider Yes movement and external organisations would present a “missed opportunity”.

"I'm glad to see the SNP taking steps towards holding an 'independence convention,' an idea I advocated for during the SNP leadership election,” Regan said.

“It demonstrates a recognition of the importance of engaging with the wider independence movement.

The National: Regan called for a convention during the leadership contestRegan called for a convention during the leadership contest

“However, I must express my disappointment that this convention will not include other independence-supporting parties or external organisations."

Regan said that a “true” convention would embrace the “diversity of talent, ideas, and enthusiasm” of the wider Yes movement.

“It will be a missed opportunity if the SNP does not reach out to those who may have felt disaffected in recent years and encourage them to re-engage,” she added.

“A truly inclusive convention would foster unity and strengthen our collective efforts towards independence.

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"Given that this was my idea, I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the convention's success.

“I have requested to open the convention to welcome groups and get the movement working together once again.

“Together, we can build a stronger, more vibrant campaign that resonates with all those who believe in Scotland's independence."

The SNP’s independence convention will be held at Caird Hall, Dundee, on June 24.

We previously told how SNP policy convener Giugliano defended the decision to hold a party-only convention on The National’s podcast Holyrood Weekly.

He argued that the party “must have space” to decide its preferred route to independence, amid criticism from grassroots campaigners that they were excluded.

“The SNP is a political party, and as a political party it is entitled to have its internal democracy processes,” Giugliano told Holyrood Weekly. “The SNP as a political party needs to have its space to have its discussion about its preferred route to independence.

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“That doesn't take anything away from other political parties, or groups or organizations who have had their own discussions and their own events.”

The date for the convention also sparked controversy within the Yes movement, as it was scheduled to go ahead on the same day as an All Under One Banner (AUOB) march in Stirling.

First Minister Humza Yousaf was invited to attend the march, but declined the invitation. The SNP said they would send a senior party member to the event, but later announced the convention will be held on the same date, leading to AUOB hitting out at the apparent snub.