ONE of Nicola Sturgeon’s closest allies has contradicted the SNP’s deputy leader on whether independence is now the settled will of the Scottish people.

Andrew Wilson, who authored the SNP’s pre-Covid economic blueprint for independence, said it would be “a mistake to say we’re there yet”.

Despite a series of impressive polls for Yes, Mr Wilson urged caution, telling the Herald on Sunday: “It’s important not to rush the fence.”

His comments are at odds with the gung-ho statement issued by the SNP last week on the back of an Ipsos Mori survey putting support for Yes at 58 per cent.

Titled “Landmark poll shows independence now ‘Scotland’s settled will’”, it included a quote from SNP depute leader Keith Brown.

READ MORE: Scottish independence poll: Do you think Scotland will be independent by 2026?

Despite the shift being very recent, he said: “This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.”

The phrase was coined by the late Labour leader John Smith in a speech to a Scottish Labour conference 1994, when he used it about a Scottish Parliament. 

In his interview, Mr Wilson said: “What we’re hearing from the polls is that independence isn’t yet the settled will, but it is settling.”

He also cited “some reticence about having the vote tomorrow” as a cautionary sign.

“It’s important not to rush the fence because we’ll give the Prime Minister the ability to resonate with people by saying ‘now is not the time’.

“It would be a mistake to say we’re there yet - people can change their mind again. But I detect a growing solidity.”

In his interview, Mr Wilson said independence was possible by 2026 after a referendum and negotiations in the course of the next Scottish parliamentary term.

He also said Yes could “in big” if it got its messaging right.

He said: “I think if properly articulated on an honest case, then [the percentage support] could be in the late 50s or early 60s”. 

Mr Wilson, an SNP MSP in the first Scottish Parliament who is now a corporate lobbyist, also said the feud between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond was “heart-breaking”.

He said: “It’s hard to understand and very difficult to watch.”

He also took a coded swipe at prominent SNP Holyrood hopeful who recently claimed an independent Scotland could simply “create money” rather than rely on raising taxes.

Osama Bhutta, the cousin of justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, told the pro-independence media outlet Skotia: “Once we have our own currency we will have the ability to create money… the state literally creates money. It does not need our money.”

READ MORE: Scotland will be independent by 2026 says SNP's top strategist Andrew Wilson

Mr Bhutta, who is trying to defeat MSP Kenneth Gibson for the SNP candidacy in Cunninghame North, later said his comments were based on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), and illustrated the idea in a video using Monopoly money.

A critic of MMT, Mr Wilson said: “We used to say that because of oil that everything would be easier from day one - now some say we can just print money and everything will be easier. Neither of those were ever true.”