A BACKLASH is growing within the SNP over the party’s support for a second EU referendum.

A fourth parliamentarian has warned backing a new plebiscite on leaving the bloc sets a precedent for a new independence referendum.

READ MORE: Holyrood backs 'People's Vote' referendum on final Brexit deal

Kenneth Gibson added his voice to concerns raised last week by senior MPs Pete Wishart and Angus MacNeil and former Cabinet minister Alex Neil.

Gibson spoke out after rebelling against the party whip in Holyrood on Wednesday which saw the SNP back the Lib Dems and Greens to support a second EU vote.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: This is why backing a People’s Vote is a bad idea

He told The National: “Although I voted to remain, in my view a referendum should be binding for a generation unless there is a material change in circumstances.

“For example, in the 2014 independence referendum, the No campaign stated that voting Yes would mean Scotland would be ‘kicked out’ of the EU. It turns out that it is by voting No, that Scotland is now facing the exit door.

“Thus, a second independence referendum should be held, given that material change in circumstances.”

He added: “Scotland has already made its view clear; we voted to stay. Yet on the EU front, nothing has changed ‘materially’ since 2016 in my view.

“I also believe that having a second vote on the Brexit package, sets a precedent. One I would not want to see imposed post indyref2.

“I have made my position on this issue clear in the SNP MSP group since October 2017 and was therefore being consistent in opposing the ‘unequivocal’ vote being called for.”

The National:

Neil, pictured above, did not vote on the issue in Holyrood on Wednesday and last night stepped up his criticism, arguing the party was “bounced” into supporting the policy after the First Minister announced in a television interview SNP MPs would back the move if it came to a vote in the Commons.

Put to him that he wouldn’t want a second EU referendum as he voted Leave, Neil said: “What I am first and foremost is a nationalist. I want independence for Scotland so I judge everything on the basis on whether advances or not the case for Scottish independence and based on that criteria I think it is a huge mistake to support the idea of a confirmatory referendum, which will be used against us by our opponents.”

He added: “At then end of the day Westminster is still sovereign and they could impose a confirmatory referendum on us – and say well you have no right to complain because the SNP supported the same principle for the EU referendum.”

Neil stated there were a growing number of SNP parliamentarians who were not happy about the party backing a second EU referendum and he claimed the party “were bounced” into supporting it after the First Minister’s interview on Marr ahead of the conference vote last month.

“In a democratic party you have the discussion first and then reach a decision, that did not happen in this case. The conference effectively was bounced into it. [SNP MSPs] were not consulted as a group and the MPs were not consulted. And I think there is a lot of unhappiness with the decision as announced,” he said. “It should have been put on the agenda well ahead of the SNP conference but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I’ve had calls from SNP MSPs who voted for the amendment [on Wednesday], not realising what they were voting for and now regret doing so. I think it’s a lesson for the future in terms of party democracy.”

He continued: “If the choice is between loyalty to Brussels or loyalty to independence. Independence must come first. The SNP tends to be highly disciplined organisation and it is very clear on this issue there has been a public spat which is highly unusual in the SNP and that is because the way the decision was reached and the decision itself.”

The FM said SNP MPs would back a new Brexit referendum if it were put to them. Campaigners have been pressing for a vote on whatever exit plans result from talks with EU leaders. Theresa May has rejected calls for a so-called People’s Vote and while Labour has not ruled it out, it wants a General Election to decide the issue.

Sturgeon has said backing a second EU referendum would not mean there would need to be a confirmatory vote on a Yes indyref2 result. She has said the need for a second EU vote stems from a lack of detail given to voters in 2016 which would not be the case in a future independence vote.

An SNP spokesperson said: “We have made it clear that we would push strongly for any second EU referendum to have safeguards to ensure Scotland’s voice is protected in the event of Scotland voting remain again while the UK as a whole voted to leave. This position was agreed by SNP conference.

“Scotland’s overwhelming vote to remain in 2016 – by far the most decisive vote of any of the UK nations – has been completely ignored, which underlines how Westminster completely fails to represent or protect Scotland’s vital national interests.”