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SNP in crisis, again

Credit: Alamy

In fairness to the Nats, they never let things get too dull. Just days after losing his party’s whip, SNP MP and Salmond ally Angus MacNeil has now announced that he will sit as an independent candidate until at least October. MacNeil was seen in the Commons last week having a bust-up with Chief Whip Brendan O’Hara but time is yet to heal his wounds, judging by the fiery statement he has released this afternoon. 

‘I will only seek the SNP whip again if it is clear that the SNP are pursuing independence,’ sniped MacNeil. ‘At the moment, the SNP has become a brand name missing the key ingredient. The urgency for independence is absent.’ A dig at First Minister Humza Yousaf’s garbled new independence strategy, perhaps…?

Continuing his rant, MacNeil moaned:

The Scottish government went to the Supreme Court a year ago utterly clueless about how to pursue independence, [and] left the Supreme Court utterly clueless about how to pursue independence… The tricks of the last 6 years of kicking the can down the road have not served Scotland well.

Ouch. MacNeil’s outburst comes at a fractious point for the Westminster group, which is looking at an exodus of at least seven MPs at the next election. Among them are deputy leader Mhairi Black and former leader Ian Blackford. Of course, the drama has not been contained solely within the London-based group. MacNeil’s accusation that the SNP are not serious about their very raison d’être is directed at the top ranks of the party. And his comments will certainly have rankled SNP management – their lack of a coherent independence strategy is a rather large insecurity given the growing number of independence supporters no longer aligned with the SNP.

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