A well-respected MSP has refused to say if he will rejoin the SNP after he was suspended from the party for criticising the Scottish Government.
Last night Fergus Ewing was punished for a failing to back his party in a series of votes in the Scottish Parliament.
He had openly criticised policies such as the party's controversial gender reforms and had objected to plans for highly protected marine areas (HPMAs), the deposit return scheme and the Scottish Government’s deal with the Scottish Greens.
“I haven’t begun to do that yet because I’ve been focusing on speaking out in my constituents’ interests.”
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said that he was hoping Ewing would make a return.
“People should represent their constituents but, if you are a member of the SNP, elected on the SNP ticket, there is, of course, standing orders imposed that you have to abide as an SNP MSP," he said.
Fergus Ewing said the SNP had let down ScotlandPA
“I hope that after a week Fergus is reinstated back as an SNP MSP.”
SNP MSPs voted on whether to discipline Ewing in a behind-closed-doors meeting last night.
Yousaf missed the vote after saying that he felt unwell.
Nine of Ewing's colleagues voted against the sanction and four abstained.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry today defended her colleague, claiming Ewing’s rebellion was “the product of years of inadequate debate in our party about policy making”.
In a statement on social media, Cherry, who has criticised the Scottish Government’s policy on gender recognition reform, said: “I may not agree with Fergus Ewing on everything but he is a man of integrity.
“I’m glad there were rebels on this vote. His rebellion is the product of years of inadequate debate in our party about policy making. That needs to change. Don’t shoot the messenger.”