Expelled SNP MP sends scathing independence parting shot at Scottish Government

Expelled SNP MP sends scathing independence parting shot at Scottish Government

First Minister Humza Yousaf (left) and Angus MacNeil (right)

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 11/08/2023

- 10:49

MP Angus MacNeil expelled from the SNP over extraordinary public Commons bust up

The MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), previously suspended over a slugging match with his own chief whip in the corridors of Parliament, has been officially expelled from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Angus MacNeil, 53, had received flack from party bosses for barraging battle-hardened Brendan O’Hara, 60, in a very public and embarrassing Nat-on-Nat encounter last month.

After being suspended, MacNeil refused to rejoin the party which convinced the SNP conduct committee to make the whip removal permanent on Thursday.

The MP took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to respond: "The Summer of Member Expulsion, has indeed come to pass, as I have been expelled as a rank & file SNP member by a 'member conduct committee.'"

\u200bBrendan O'Hara (left) and Angus MacNeil (right)Brendan O'Hara (left) and Angus MacNeil (right)PA/Parliament

In a parting blow, he added: "I didn't leave the SNP - the SNP have left me.I wish they were as bothered about independence as they are about me!"

MacNeil included a kangaroo emoji in an assumed reference to the conduct committee being a kangaroo court.

Elected in 2005, MacNeil was one of the SNP’s longest serving MPs who was never afraid to rally against the party line especially over Scottish independence.

The downfall brawl is said to have erupted when chief whip O’Hara cornered MacNeil over his patchy voting record in the Commons.

\u200bAngus MacNeilSupporters have blamed MacNeil's commute for his patchy voting attendance recordAngus MacNeil

MacNeil’s supporters have cited the arduous and unpredictable commute from his home on the Isle of Barra to London, and MacNeil’s duties as a single father, as reasoning for the MP’s lacklustre voting attendance.

Taking the admonishing to heart, MacNeil is said to have called the chief whip “a small wee man!” according to the Guido Fawkes website.

After shouting the phrase several times, MacNeil allegedly hurled a jumble of letters in the direction of his senior colleague.

The papers are believed to have been disciplinary notices sent by O’Hara over MacNeil’s patchy attendance record in parliament.

Brendan O'Hara\u200bOne source said of O'Hara (pictured): 'Brendan is a clown who should take up knitting or something useful.'UK Parliament

After the row, MacNeil took his thoughts and feelings to Twitter.

Getting ahead of the narrative, he tweeted: "Always stand up to bullies, – esp any abusing their positions – particularly those who scurry around shouting to anyone listening, 'I'll get him, I'll get him, I WILL get him! – mark my words.'

"These are people, who from school, we should get taught to face down."

It is believed that the phrase ‘I’ll get him’ is in reference to a previous incident where O’Hara made his thoughts clear that MacNeil should be in the chamber for a debate when he was campaigning to become chairman of the energy security and net zero select committee.

Angus MacNeil

Angus MacNeil was elected as an MP in 2005.


O’Hara, who represents Argyll and Bute, is alleged to have sworn at MacNeil, adding to the notion that O’Hara attempted to rule the Nat roost with an iron fist.

On O’Hara, sources have previously told The Times: “He thinks he's a prison officer but he's drunk on what he perceives as his own power.

"Brendan is a clown who should take up knitting or something useful."


SNP Chief Whip Angus MacNeilSNP Chief Whip Angus MacNeilHouse of Commons

In the aftermath of the row, MacNeil declared that he would sit as an independent MP until the SNP pursued independence again.

He wrote: "I will only seek the SNP whip again if it is clear that the SNP are pursuing independence.”

An SNP spokesperson said: "Following his decision to resign from the SNP Westminster Parliamentary Group, and therefore no longer sit as an SNP MP, the unanimous decision of the SNP's Member Conduct Committee is that a breach of the code of conduct has occurred and Angus MacNeil MP has been expelled from the Party.

"Mr MacNeil was given the opportunity to rejoin the group, and subsequently chose not to attend the hearing."

You may like