back to top

The Only Debate About A Second Referendum At The SNP Conference Has Been Cancelled

The event was pulled amid controversy over Michelle Thomson MP.

Posted on
Andy Buchanan / AFP / Getty Images

The only scheduled debate about a second Scottish independence referendum at this week's SNP conference has been cancelled amid controversy over the investigation into Michelle Thomson, who was forced to resign from the party over allegations about her property deals.

The Law Society of Scotland had planned to hold an event at the conference called "When will Scotland be ready for #IndyRef2?", but has cancelled the debate after questions were raised about the legal body's impartiality.

The society has come under recent criticism for its handling of evidence linked to the alleged mortgage fraud involving Thomson after it was revealed that it didn't formally raise concerns over the MP's property deals until after her election, despite being aware of them in 2014.

Thomson, who denies any wrongdoing, is undergoing a police investigation after being accused of profiting from property deals involving vulnerable people. She was forced to resign from the SNP whip following the allegations and is now an independent MP.

The Law Society of Scotland has now cancelled its discussion on independence, leaving no debate on the timing of a second referendum on the conference agenda.

On Sunday, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called another independence vote "inevitable" although the party has gone out of its way to avoid putting a timescale on a further referendum, saying it's a matter for the Scottish people to decide.

A Law Society of Scotland spokesperson said: "We were proudly non-partisan during the first referendum. We were concerned about some of the comments made about our fringe event at the SNP conference which made some people call our impartiality into question. That is why we have chosen to cancel this event."

The SNP conference will begin on Thursday. A party spokesperson said: "The SNP is looking forward to its biggest conference ever, with a record number of delegates, exhibitors, and fringe events."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.