FERGUS Ewing has been suspended for a week following an internal SNP disciplinary hearing.  

The former frontbencher delivered a scathing attack in response, saying the SNP is no longer “putting Scotland first”.

SNP MSPs met on Wednesday evening to discuss what disciplinary action to take against the former frontbencher for backing a no-confidence motion against Scottish Government Green minister Lorna Slater earlier this year.

A two thirds majority was needed, a threshold which was passed and members have opted to suspend the veteran MSP from the Holyrood group for one week. 

48 MSPs – minus First Minister Humza Yousaf who returned home due to illness before the vote – backed the one-week suspension, which will see the MSP sit as an independent for the duration.

Nine of his colleagues voted against the sanction and four abstained.

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An SNP spokesman said: “At a meeting this evening, a proposal was carried to suspend Fergus Ewing from the SNP Holyrood Group for a period of one week."

Ewing was represented by his lawyer – John Campbell KC – at the meeting, which is understood to have been a first for an SNP internal hearing of this kind. 

It is understood that Ewing can now appeal the decision to the SNP's National Executive Committee (NEC). 

Flanked by his sister and fellow SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing, former leadership contender Kate Forbes and MSP Christine Grahame after the vote, Ewing said: “I bit my tongue when I didn’t agree with certain policies the party was promoting.”

He added: “I did so because I thought fundamentally that the party that has been such a big party of my life was fundamentally proceeding in the right way for Scotland – standing up for Scotland.

“The SNP is not an ordinary party – we are a party that has always put Scotland first, and that means to me, putting the interests of the people of Scotland first.

“But in good conscious, and it grieves me to say this, I don’t believe that is any longer the case.”

The veteran MSP has frequently made the headlines in recent months due to his criticism of SNP policy, including opposition to the Bute House Agreement and the deposit return scheme. 

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing 'set to lose party whip' after vote against Lorna Slater

He has described the Greens – his party’s co-operation agreement partners – as “extremist” and "wine bar revolutionaries".

More recently, he joined the Tories in signing a letter to the First Minister calling for a pause to the short-term lets licensing scheme.

Ewing was rumoured to lose the whip earlier this summer, but it coincided with the death of his mother Winnie, who was a legendary pro-independence figure.

Prior to the meeting, former leadership contender Kate Forbes said Ewing is "much loved" and appeared to warn her colleagues about the repercussions of a suspension. 

The Inverness and Nairn MSP has been an MSP since devolution in 1999, when his mother officially reopened the Scottish Parliament.

Once the SNP came to power in 2007, Ewing served as community safety minister and then as energy, enterprise and tourism minister under Alex Salmond.

Then in 2016 under Nicola Sturgeon, he became rural affairs secretary. He has been a backbencher since 2019.