ANGUS MacNeil has been suspended from the SNP after he declined to rejoin the party's Westminster group, The National understands.

The Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP was suspended from the Westminster group last week after a bust-up with chief whip Brendan O’Hara.

When MacNeil's week-long suspension expired, he stated he would not "retake the whip" until the SNP showed urgency on the issue of independence.

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The National now understands MacNeil has been suspended from the SNP, reportedly having breached the party's code of conduct. 

An SNP spokesperson said: "Angus MacNeil MP was advised by the SNP National Secretary on Wednesday that she considered him to be in breach of the party's code of conduct by his decision to resign from the SNP Westminster parliamentary group.

"Having acknowledged this, Mr MacNeil did not take up the offer to rejoin the SNP parliamentary group and the matter was, therefore, yesterday referred to the SNP Member Conduct Committee for consideration."

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It is understood that MacNeil was contacted by the SNP's National Secretary on Wednesday, with the matter then referred to the Member Conduct Committee on Thursday.

MacNeil's party membership has been suspended while the committee come to a decision. 

In response to the suspension, MacNeil told The National: “I did not leave the SNP and I hope the SNP haven't left me, as that was what went wrong with Labour in Scotland.” 

We previously told how MacNeil would not seek to rejoin the group after a one-week suspension after the fallout with O'Hara. 

In a letter shared on social media, MacNeil explained: “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.

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“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."

MacNeil has insisted that he will contest the next General Election, adding that he would hope to do so as an SNP candidate, but would do so as an independent if necessary.

On Thursday, MacNeil told BBC Scotland's Drive Time that he had "absolutely no plans" to join Alba.

MacNeil also clarified at the top of the interview that there were no “threats” involved in the dispute with O’Hara, and that he had been asking him to “please stop sending me letters”.

More to follow...