BOTH of the losing candidates in the SNP’s 2023 leadership race voted against the suspension of rebel MSP Fergus Ewing from the party, according to reports.

Kate Forbes and Ash Regan were both among the MSPs who voted against a one-week suspension for Ewing, which was approved by the Holyrood group at an internal meeting on Wednesday evening.

The Herald reported that a further six MSPs – excluding Ewing himself – voted against his suspension.

These were his sister Annabelle Ewing, Christine Grahame, Michelle Thomson, Kenneth Gibson, Colin Beattie, and Jim Fairlie.

A further four MSPs – Ivan McKee, Ruth Maguire, Ben Macpherson and Stephanie Callaghan – abstained from the vote.

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The vast majority of the SNP Holyrood group, some 48 MSPs, backed the one-week suspension.

Ewing, a former Cabinet secretary and the son of SNP trailblazer Winnie Ewing, has been growing increasingly vocal in his attacks on the party in recent months.

He has called the SNP’s partners in the Bute House governing agreement, the Scottish Greens, “wine bar revolutionaries” and branded their policies “extremist”. He voted with the Conservatives in a no-confidence motion against Green minister Lorna Slater in June.

Ewing has also claimed that electing Humza Yousaf as its new leader, and not Kate Forbes, was the biggest mistake the SNP have ever made.

The MSP also declined to say if he would rejoin the SNP group once his suspension ends.

The National: Angus MacNeil (Paul Campbell/PA)

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil (above) was also suspended from the SNP for one week after a public clash with then-chief whip Brendan O’Hara. However, when his suspension ended, MacNeil declined to rejoin the party, leading ultimately to his expulsion.

Asked if he would rejoin, Ewing told journalists: “I have been suspended for a week, that was the decision of the group.

“I will have to consider that and decide what to do.

“I haven’t begun to do that yet because I’ve been focusing on speaking out in my constituents’ interests.”

Ewing launched a further scathing attack on the SNP in a statement he gave following his suspension.

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He said in a pre-prepared statement: “I bit my tongue when I didn’t agree with certain policies the party was promoting. 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 are 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 conscience, and it grieves me to say this, I don’t believe that is any longer the case.”

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan previously defended Ewing’s suspension as proportionate, telling the BBC: “In full transparency, yes I did [vote to suspend Ewing].

“It is something I certainly would expect to be the outcome if I had done what Fergus did.

“It is part of a normal party mechanism in a democratic system.”