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Former SNP policy chief calls for devo-max option on any future independence referendum ballot

A FORMER SNP policy development convenor has called for a devo-max option to be included on any future independence referendum ballot to break Scotland’s constitutional logjam.

Chris Hanlon, who served as the party’s policy chief between 2020 and 2021, wrote in the National — a pro-independence newspaper — that excluding the option of enhanced devolution from the ballot if there is a second referendum would be “just plain wrong.”

Mr Hanlon, who no longer holds the position, said that the move could offer a way of ending the constitutional “logjam” in Scotland, with the British and Scottish governments continuing their standoffs despite a majority in Holyrood in favour of holding a second vote on independence. 

The SNP activist said that while he still supported independence, including a third option on the ballot could force Boris Johnson’s hand, with a ballot using the single transferable vote method to ensure the greatest number of Scots are in favour of the preferred outcome. 

Former Scottish Labour MSP and Red Paper Collective member Neil Findlay backed the move on social media. 

He said: “Let’s build a campaign for a third option bringing together all who want to see constitutional change that will deliver a radical, progressive Scotland. 

“This does not mean anyone need abandon their preferred option, it means more democracy — why would anyone oppose that?”

Despite this, senior figures within the SNP dismissed the idea out of hand, with Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart, describing the proposal as “idiotic, foolish, nonsensical.” 

Another SNP MSP, Gillian Martin followed suit, saying that devo-max “was a con in 2014” — when Scots were promised enhanced devolution if they voted against independence — and “is a con now.”

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