THE SNP ’s Angus MacNeil is set to defy the party whip this week over plans to call a December election. The MP told The National he didn’t want to give Boris Johnson an “early Christmas present”, describing his party’s position as “madness”.

SNP MPs only found out about the joint push for a December 9 election, in conjunction with the LibDems, on Saturday night when reports first appeared online.

In a letter to EU Council president Donald Tusk, Ian Blackford and Jo Swinson asked for a three-month extension of the Brexit negotiations, which, if granted, would “remove the risk of a devastating No-Deal Brexit”.

Blackford said that once that had been secured, the two parties would work to bring forward an election “on Parliament’s terms not on the Prime Minister’s”.

The two parties intend to introduce a short amendment to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act which would specify the polling day for the next election as December 9.

Before then, MPs will vote on the Prime Minister’s attempt to unpick the Fixed Term Parliaments Act rules for an early General Election on December 12.

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MacNeil said he was worried about the proposed SNP and LibDem plan. He told The National: “Parliament’s in charge at the moment. We can’t guarantee that Parliament will be in charge after the election.”

“We might find ourselves in five or six weeks with Boris Johnson having a majority that’ll last him five years,” he said.

“I can’t see why we’re gifting this. Why the change from Thursday night. I’m absolutely stunned.

“The Tories are probably going to say, ‘what’s the trick here?’, because this just seems like an early Christmas present to them. It’s not even Halloween and we’re giving them a Christmas present.

“Boris has been desperate for a cut and run election for months and we want to give it to him, just like that.”

MacNeil continued: “If we’re going to have a referendum on Europe, which an election will be, that’s all it’s going to be about, then let’s have a straightforward referendum with a threshold of 50%, not an election where the threshold is only 35%.”

MacNeil said it was as if the LibDems were “pulling our strings”.

He added: “There’s a danger the Libs could be the third party, so the SNP lose their speaking rights at PMQs and all the rest of it.”

He also questioned why, if the SNP are planning on fighting another independence referendum in 2020, they were so keen on spending cash at an election.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to say there was no alternative to the SNP plan.

She argued inaction could allow Johnson to “get his bad deal through” or “run down clock to end January when No Deal becomes a real risk all over again”.

An SNP spokesman said: “Without taking action to get rid of Boris Johnson now, there is a huge risk that the Prime Minister bullies Parliament to pass his withdrawal agreement with the support of Labour MPs, and Scotland is taken out of the EU without our consent at the end of November.

“Which is why as we have made repeatedly clear, once No Deal is off the table, we will work with other parties to come together and put the decision back to the people, through a General Election or a referendum.”