EX-SNP MP Angus MacNeil has said too many members of his old party “take a line without thinking it through”.

MacNeil quit the SNP earlier this year following a suspension from the Westminster group, with reports suggesting it was caused by a heated argument with its then-chief whip Brendan O'Hara.

In a letter posted on social media in July following his suspension, MacNeil said he would not rejoin the SNP group unless it was clear they were “pursuing independence”.

The letter resulted in his expulsion from the party and the Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP now sits as an independent.

Even before leaving the SNP, MacNeil had been a frequent critic of both the leadership of Humza Yousaf and of his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.

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In an interview with Holyrood Magazine, the MP said: “Too many people in the SNP now take a line without thinking it through.

“The SNP has become very unthinking.

“Sometimes the sheep I shepherd here at home [on Barra] show more of an independence of thought than the SNP.

“If more of my sheep were as compliant as some SNP politicians, being a shepherd would be a lot easier.”

Since his expulsion from the SNP, MacNeil has pledged to work with the Alex Salmond-led Alba Party at Westminster, which has two MPs in Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill – both of whom defected from the SNP when Alba was created.

MacNeil has agreed to work alongside the pair as part of a Scotland United for Independence Group, but has not officially joined the party.

Since his departure from the SNP, Lisa Cameron has moved to the Tories at Westminster having citied a “toxic” culture within the SNP’s MP group.

Ash Regan also departed for Alba in a surprise appearance at the party’s conference just over two weeks ago.

MacNeil additionally took aim at the state of internal debate within the party under Sturgeon, claiming: “I saw her becoming more and more intolerant of anyone else’s view or not being inclusive, then I saw this had a detrimental effect on our movement.

“There was no testing out of arguments with Nicola, which is why I think she was caught short on a number of things latterly.”

The MP went on to tell the magazine he now feels in a “much better position, politically, not being in the SNP”.