SNP MSPs 'gagged' as infighting begins following MSP Brexit votes

  • Alfie Baron
The SNP infighting has started following revelations by SNP MSP Alex Neil that he had voted for Brexit and that "one or two" of his Holyrood colleagues had approached him to say they had also backed Brexit.

Alex Neil said: "A proportion may not well vote for independence. Anecdotally, a lot of them have hardened their position. A lot of them don't understand why we don't want to be run by London and would rather be run by Brussels."

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of "gagging" MSPs to ensure there is an appearance of party unity.

Nicola Sturgeon said it was no surprise that Mr Neil had voted to leave the EU that she was "not sure he's right about other MSPs".

One SNP MSP said: "But the party is telling us not to speak to the press about it but to refer everything back to the centre. I suppose they're worried because some of us will tell you that we definitely voted to Remain so you could probably assume the others voted to Leave."

A second SNP MSP has been quoted as saying: "I would have said, 'Just tell people how you voted and let people do it on the record.' They're scared that someone says, 'Yes, I voted for Brexit. Alex Neil is right.'"

Toni Giugliano, a member of the party's ruling national executive committee, said voting to leave the European Union was counterproductive to the party's founding principle.

Toni Giugliano said: "We are now in a unique position where we are considering a second independence referendum and there is no other issue other than Brexit which would have put the SNP in this position. Supporting Brexit undermines the cause of Scottish independence."

Toni Giugliano continued: "I respect Alex Neil and I respect the views of people who voted to leave the European Union, but I am also of the view they do not understand what independence means. To suggest that an independent Scotland in Europe would not be independent is to suggest countries like Finland, Ireland, Holland and other small countries are not independent. Independence is not about being isolated, it is about working constructively with your partners to further the interests of all."

Mr Giugliano put down a motion, overwhelmingly passed at the SNP conference last month, calling for Scotland to prepare for a new independence referendum if the country's EU membership is not safeguarded under Brexit.

Toni Giugliano is no stranger to controversy regarding his thoughts on the UK. He was the centre of attention back in April after being accused of sending Ian Murray a tweet asking: "Since when do you take pride in the Union Jack's bloodstains?"

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SNP MSP Mark McDonald quits SNP in Sleaze Investigation
  • Alfie Baron

Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald has quit the Scottish National Party (SNP).

His resignations follows allegations of misconduct against at least two women.

McDonald resigned from the SNP with immediate effect - but will remain as an Independent MSP.