Ex-SNP MP to stand as independent unless party makes 'substantial change'

Angus MacNeil was expelled from the party last month after being suspended from the Westminster group.

Ex-SNP MP Angus MacNeil to stand as independent unless party makes ‘substantial change’ UK Parliament

Ex-SNP MP Angus MacNeil has announced he will stand as an independent candidate unless the party’s leadership takes a “substantial change of direction”.

MacNeil was expelled from the party last month after he reportedly clashed with chief whip Brendan O’Hara.

The MP, who has represented Na h-Eileanan Siar since 2005, was initially suspended from the Westminster group, but said he would not rejoin after it had lifted.

He made the latest comments at a meeting of Yes Fraserburgh, Brochers for Independence and Alba Party supporters, where he had to deliver his speech via a Zoom call due to what he said was “no plane connection whatsoever” to the mainland.

He said: “Unless there is a substantial change of direction in the leadership of the SNP, I am reconciled to fighting the election as an independent candidate.

“I can do no other and retain my freedom and ability to defend my constituents on issues such as ferries and fishing without fear or favour and no amount of aggressive whipping can persuade me otherwise.”

He insisted his loyalty to his area remained his first priority.

He said: “For me as an MP loyalty to constituency comes first, country next and then and only then to party. I say this as a former SNP member of 30 years standing.”

He hit out at the Scottish Government’s record on ferries and the proposed plans for highly protected marine areas (HPMAs)

MacNeil said: “As an island MP, first and foremost, my job is to campaign for better services and to criticise and demand change in the Calmac/Scottish Government ferry policies where appropriate.

“Unfortunately, the Holyrood Government is hypersensitive to criticism, whether it be about ferries or the crazy fishing ban proposals or policies for independence.”

He also criticised the SNP’s approach to independence at the meeting, saying: “Going cap in hand to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom last year was a clueless political manoeuvre.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code