MP refuses to rejoin the SNP with blast at party's 'clueless' strategy

Fresh SNP meltdown as MP Angus MacNeil refuses to rejoin the party as he claims it’s ‘utterly clueless’ about how to pursue Scottish independence and says an ‘urgency’ to break up the UK is ‘absent’

  • MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar blasts the SNP for a lack of ‘clarity’ on independence

Humza Yousaf was dealt a fresh blow today after one of his MPs refused to rejoin the SNP group at Westminster.

Angus MacNeil, who served a recent suspension, revealed he would not be retaking the SNP whip in the House of Commons until at least October as he delivered a blast at the party’s strategy.

He claimed SNP bosses were ‘utterly clueless’ about how to pursue Scottish independence and said an ‘urgency’ on the matter was ‘absent’.

Mr MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, even threatened to stand against the SNP at the next general election without further ‘clarity’ on how the party will pursue its ambition of breaking up the UK.

He demanded SNP members have a say on the party’s direction at its annual conference, which is usually held in October.

Mr MacNeil’s action will pile the pressure on Mr Yousaf, the SNP leader, as he attempts to revive the party’s fortunes following the resignation of his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.

Angus MacNeil, who served a recent suspension, revealed he would not be retaking the SNP whip in the Commons until at least October as he delivered a blast at the party’s strategy

Mr MacNeil’s action will pile the pressure on Humza Yousaf, the SNP leader, as he attempts to revive the party’s fortunes following the resignation of his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon

The MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar claimed SNP bosses were ‘utterly clueless’ about how to pursue Scottish independence and said an ‘urgency’ on the matter was ‘absent’

The Scottish First Minister has had to deal with the fall-out from the divisive leadership contest to succeed Ms Sturgeon, as well as several dramatic developments in the police probe into the SNP’s finances.

The SNP’s woes have seen the party’s opinion poll ratings dwindle, while Mr Yousaf has been accused of having sown confusion about how he hopes to achieve independence.

At a specially-convened conference on independence last month, the First Minister insisted the SNP would have a ‘mandate’ to ‘negotiate our independence’ if they win the general election in Scotland.

Mr Yousaf later clarified that a majority of seats in Scotland would be enough to constitute a victory at the general election, which is expected next year.

But this was short of the bar set by Ms Sturgeon, who wanted the general election to be fought as a ‘de facto referendum’ with more than 50 per cent of the votes considered enough to open independence negotiations with Westminster.

Mr MacNeil recently had the SNP whip suspended for a week after a reported row with the party’s chief whip at Westminster, Brendan O’Hara.

He had cryptically tweeted about standing up to ‘bullies’ but accepted the decision to suspend him.

In an open letter posted on his Twitter account this afternoon, Mr MacNeil insisted his decision to not now rejoin the SNP group at Westminster was ‘not about the conduct of the chief whip’.

He said the time spent away from the SNP group had ‘allowed me to concentrate on what really matters, the pursuit of Scottish independence’.

‘I will only seek the SNP whip again if it is clear that the SNP are pursuing independence,’ he added.

‘At the moment, the SNP has become a brand name missing the key ingredient. The urgency for independence is absent.’

In an open letter posted on his Twitter account this afternoon, Mr MacNeil criticised the Scottish Government’s strategy both before and after November’s Supreme Court ruling

Mr MacNeil criticised the Scottish Government’s strategy both before and after November’s Supreme Court judgment on another independence referendum.

This saw the UK’s most senior judges rule that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for another independence referendum without permission from Westminster.

Mr MacNeil wrote: ‘The Scottish Government went to the Supreme Court a year ago utterly clueless about how to pursue independence, left the Supreme Court utterly clueless about how to pursue independence.

‘The SNP still have no clear understanding that it has to use elections to negotiate Scottish independence from Westminster by getting the backing of the majority of the electorate.

‘The SNP membership must have a say at conference on the policy direction, which it hasn’t until now.

‘The tricks of the last six years of kicking the can down the road has not served Scotland well in matching our successful neighbours, instead we are trapped with Brexit in a socially failing UK.’

He added he would not seek to rejoin the SNP until ‘at least’ October, when he hoped for ‘clarity’ on the party’s independence strategy after its annual conference.

In a threat to stand against the SNP at the general election without greater action on independence, Mr MacNeil said: ‘I will certainly be standing at the next election in Na h-Eileanan an Iar on an independence platform.

‘And I hope after clarity on independence after the October conference that I will be standing for the SNP.’

Source: Read Full Article