A LEADING SNP MP has criticised the Scottish Government’s lack of progress on the constitution, warning that “saying there will be an Indyref next year is not enough”.

Joanna Cherry QC said it was “trite” merely to assert that Scotland would do better with independence without demonstrating some initiative under devolution.

The Edinburgh South West MP also said the Scottish Parliament could do more to hold the SNP-Green administration to account. 

Ms Cherry, a former justice spokesperson at Westminster but now a backbencher, makes the criticisms in a column in today’s National.

After criticising Boris Johnson and the UK’s response to the light of Ukrainian refugees, she said: “The Scottish Government stands ready to take more than our fair share of the refugees who want to come to the UK, but its hands are tied by the red tape of the Home Office and the dogged insistence on visas. 

“Across Europe, other countries are taking in way more Ukrainians fleeing the war than the UK and not delaying matters with visa applications. 

“Boris Johnson is bragging about schemes that are mere window dressing in comparison. It is immoral. 

“Yet, it is trite to say Scotland could do better than this with independence.” 

She said Yes supporters wanted to hear “a plan and the policies that together will deliver independence and the reality of doing things differently to Johnson when it comes to the big moral and humanitarian challenges of our time”. 

She went on: “Saying there will be an indyref next year is not enough. 

“As well as the answers to the hard questions which we all know will be asked about borders, currency, EU accession, etc, during a campaign proper we also need to be proceeding with a policy agenda at Holyrood that prepares the ground for independence and demonstrates that in Scotland, even under devolution, we do things differently. 

“Doing things better than Westminster doesn’t have to wait for independence. 

“It should be an ongoing project. 

“It’s our Parliament and if it, too, is failing to hold the executive to account properly there are things we could do to improve it right now. We don’t need to wait for independence. 

“That Boris Johnson is beyond compare when it comes to evading responsibility for his actions does not mean that we, too, could not do better in our Parliament.”

The SNP has been asked for comment.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants a second referendum to be held by the end of next year, Covid permitting, but the PM has refused to grant Holyrood the power to hold it.

The First Minister has said she will pass a Referendm Bill at Holyrood regardless, but it is likely to be challenged and struck down by the Supreme Court.

The SNP Constitution Secretary is Angus Robertson, who was in a bitter dispute with Ms Cherry over the Holyrood seat of Edinburgh Central before the 2021 election.

Ms Cherry withdrew after the SNP hierarchy changed the rules on candidate selection in a way that made it far harder for her to stand, leaving Mr Robertson, a close ally of Nicola Sturgeon, as the clear favourite in the internal contest.