ANGUS MacNeil will not rejoin the SNP group and will instead sit as an independent MP at Westminster.

The Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP announced on Wednesday that he would not seek to rejoin the group – from which he was handed a one week suspension after falling out with its chief whip Brendan O’Hara.

His suspension was due to expire on July 12, but MacNeil said that he would not “retake the whip as they call it in Westminster” until the SNP showed urgency on the issue of independence.

He wrote in a letter shared on social media: “While the SNP has many good people and the best of the three leaders at PMQs is Stephen Flynn MP, I have decided for now, not to re-join the SNP MP group, retake the whip as they call it in Westminster.

“To be clear, this is not about the conduct of the chief whip which you know I disagree with, but that is of little consequence, but it has triggered time formally away from the group which has allowed me to concentrate on what really matters, the pursuit of Scottish independence.

“I will only seek the SNP whip again if it is clear that the SNP are pursuing independence. At the moment, the SNP has become a brand name missing the key ingredient. The urgency for independence is absent."

He added: "The tricks of the last six years of kicking the can down the road has not served Scotland well in matching our successful neighbours, instead we are trapped with Brexit in a socially failing UK. There has to be hope of change after the SNP conference this October, with a lot of groundwork underway."

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MacNeil said he would “certainly” contest the next General Election, adding that he hoped he would do so as an SNP candidate but would do so as an independent if necessary.

But he also said he hoped he would rejoin the SNP group “after clarity on independence after the October conference”.

Alba MP Neale Hanvey praised MacNeil's work as an MP, calling him "honest, forthright and brave".

"He will be a great loss to the SNP but hopefully, as he is committed to standing again, he won’t be a loss to Scotland," Hanvey went on.

"The total confusion over independence strategy is causing fundamental problems for the SNP.

"The way forward must be to fight the election on a Scotland United for Independence platform, cross party and non party, appealing directly to the 50 per cent of the population who back freedom."

The SNP have been approached for comment.