THE SNP’S Angus Brendan MacNeil has told colleagues not to stand in the way of a campaign for independence.

He hit out after one of his colleagues criticised his call for the party to restart its push for a Yes vote.

“Unless you are both a Tory and UK-Unionist, now is not the time to be campaigning against a campaign for independence,” the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar tweeted.

His comment came after SNP MSP James Dornan said it was wrong to be pushing for indy in the “midst of the worst crisis this country has faced”.

Writing in The National, the Glasgow Cathcart MSP said: “I’m afraid they’ve either been talking to their own bubble of like-minded people or are opportunists seeking to gain advantage, not for the cause of independence but for themselves.”

He added: Let’s just think a minute here. We’re in lockdown, people we know are contracting the virus and in too many cases dying. Do you seriously think we would gain any brownie points from the electorate for expending our energies even on preparation for the referendum, never mind campaigning for one?

Dornan said he was a “pretty tribal political animal” but he would “not be comfortable at all if our party was trying to put independence at the forefront of our thinking just now”.

“Thankfully, outside of a few loud voices in Westminster and some activists online, I think most of the party would agree with me,” he added.

MacNeil argued that others, like Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw, were already making the case for remaining in the Union.

“We need to furnish minds with thoughts, ideas and arguments, not leave the field open for the other side to be the only ones making the arguments during this period,” he tweeted. “If you are pro-indy but don’t feel up to making the arguments for independence, that is fine, but stay silent and leave others of us to argue against Tories at Westminster deciding for Scotland. However please don’t undermine Scotland’s advancement,” he added later.

The arguments over indyref2 have intensified in recent days.

Earlier this month a former SNP activist set up a new pro-independence party which aims to stand candidates on the regional list at next year’s Holyrood election.

The Scottish Government has postponed plans for an independence referendum in 2020.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had planned to stage another vote later this year, but put that on ice to focus on the unprecedented impact of coronavirus.