THE SNP are heading “straight into the machine guns” over indyref2, one of the party’s most senior MPs has claimed.

Speaking to The National, Angus Brendan MacNeil hit out at the party’s “perplexing” decision to ditch his resolution on indyref2.

On Saturday we revealed how the SNP’s Conference Committee had rejected a motion setting out an “alternative route to independence” put forward by the Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP, and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny. The two men said if the UK Government failed to grant a Section 30 order for a referendum next year, then the party should consider a pro-Yes electoral victory at the next election as a mandate for independence.

Party officials were furious with the pair for going to the media with their “whimsical” motion.

READ MORE: SNP conference: Calls for MoD to face 'full environmental audit'
READ MORE: SNP conference: Motion says loot boxes are akin to 'gambling'
READ MORE: SNP conference: Government urged to apologise for historic slavery role​

Today we can reveal that of the 48 resolutions in the provisional agenda, just three mention independence.

One of those references comes in a resolution tabled by Scottish Government ministers John Swinneyand Maree Todd to mark the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament.

The other mentions come in resolutions about Scotland’s maritime trade and on state pensions in an independent Scotland.

There is nothing on the agenda directly referencing Nicola Sturgeon’s current plan to hold a referendum sometime in late 2020.

MacNeil said the decision showed that the SNP were not “revving up” for independence.

He added: “We’ve certainly removed a club from the bag and the members are playing a game with one club and any golfer that goes out with one club knows that the terrain changes and we’re aren’t ready for unexpected changes in the terrain, we don’t have the tools. It’s hugely perplexing. I’m just utterly stumped as to what they were thinking about.

"I can’t find a logical reason as to why the SNP wouldn’t want to have a way of outflanking the UK Government, why they want to head straight into the machines guns alone as the only tactic.”

Unusually, the two men were emailed by Angus MacLeod, the SNP’s national secretary to explain why their proposal had been rejected.

The National:

In the missive, seen by The National, MacLeod said he was writing as the Conferences Committee wanted to express “their concern with your approach to this submission.”

He said it was “wholly inappropriate” for MacNeil and McEleny to have trailed their resolution through the media.

“Submissions come to the Conferences Committee for consideration. That committee is elected by conference to do that job. Indeed, conference does not appoint newspaper readers, or random Twitter followers – human or otherwise – to make these decisions.”

MacLeod went on to say that for such “a fundamental shift in party policy the resolution seemed to have been hastily written, almost whimsically so, with no apparent consultation across the party. There was no supporting statement to explain the logic behind the resolution, or even as to why an election-specific electoral tactic would be best debated publicly by conference so that our opponents could see us fully show our hand.”

He added: “Finally, the text itself was not without issues of incoherence. It begins with ‘will leave the EU on October 31’. That goes against party policy, which is to stop that happening. Furthermore, the suggested timing of autumn 2020 doesn’t marry up to the suggestion that a Westminster election could pre-date the scheduled Scottish Parliament election in 2021. Effectively, a snap election could happen before there was any proper test of whether a Section 30 order would be granted or not.”