TALK of a divide in the SNP between "Sturgeon loyalists and Sturgeon sceptics" is a “complete fiction” pushed by the party’s opponents, an MP has said.

Stewart Hosie spoke out after Stephen Flynn was elected to lead the SNP group at Westminster, taking over from Ian Blackford in what was interpreted by some as a blow to Nicola Sturgeon.

Craig Hoy, the Scottish Tory MSP and chair, claimed in the wake of the Flynn’s election: “Stephen Flynn’s victory over Nicola Sturgeon’s candidate [Alison Thewliss] is a personal humiliation for the First Minister and lays bare the deep splits within the SNP.”

However, Hosie, the MP for Dundee East who proposed Flynn for the leadership role, insisted that talk of division was fabricated.

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Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Hosie said: “I have to tell you, that seems to be a work of complete fiction.

“I have heard it, normally promoted by the SNP’s political opponents, but the party’s absolutely united behind our goal of achieving independence, absolutely united behind the fantastic leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, and I think with Stephen Flynn at the helm in Westminster we’ll see closer working than we’ve ever done.”

Pressed on the idea of a split in the SNP group between “Sturgeon loyalists and Sturgeon sceptics”, Hosie said: “I have to say I did see some of these stories over the past few days and on a couple of occasions I nearly spat out my coffee with laughter. Not one word of these divisions is true. I’ve no idea where these stories have come from.”

The National: SNP MP Stewart Hosie

The SNP MP (above) insisted there was no split between Flynn and Sturgeon over North Sea oil and gas, amid reports that the new Westminster group leader thinks that opposition to new drilling is “crazy”.

Hosie said: “I think you’ll find that Stephen’s attitude is that the transition funding for the North East – which the First Minister fully backs – should be deployed in order to make the necessary changes. There is no policy division on this whatsoever.”

Hosie further dismissed claims that there is a “Tuesday club” of male SNP MPs who play football, eat curry, and drink beers together in London which plotted Blackford’s downfall.

“A group of colleagues play football and all of a sudden there’s a plot,” he said. “I think we should get on with the serious work of discussing serious work and serious policies rather than gossipy nonsense.”

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The SNP MP rejected the assertion that he thought Flynn was “better” than either Thewliss or Blackford, saying: “I wouldn’t say it’s a case of better. They’re all very talented indeed. I think they’re all also slightly different.

“I think one thing you will see from Stephen I suspect is a different tone, perhaps more pointed, snappier, more vibrant. I think he will bring a great deal to the table and a great deal to the independence cause as he holds the government to account.”

Hosie said the SNP group’s new leader had the “rare gift” of being able to communicate difficult things in an effective way, and said he’s looking forward to seeing him “deploy that particularly at PMQs”.

Flynn will face down Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, just hours after taking over as SNP group leader.

Hosie said: “He will not just take on the Prime Minister but also the establishment as a whole.”

The SNP MP further suggested that the Supreme Court’s decision that Holyrood does not have the power to hold indyref2 without Westminster’s consent had precipitated Blackford’s downfall.

He said: “I suspect part of [the reason Blackford stepped down] was driven by the Supreme Court decision. Instead of a nine-month sprint to a referendum next autumn, we’ve got a two-year haul to get to the de facto referendum which will be the next General Election.”

Hosie further said that all the SNP MPs agreed with a de facto referendum as the right strategy. He said it is the “clearest and most legal, constitutional way of doing it in the absence of a referendum and a Section 30”.