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Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan voted to suspend Fergus Ewing from the SNP

By Scott Maclennan

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Mairi Macallan and Fergus Ewing.
Mairi Macallan and Fergus Ewing.

Transport secretary Mairi McAllan has admitted that she voted for him to be suspended from the SNP over rebelling against the party.

The pair have been at loggerheads with over the A9 dualling – with the Inverness and Nairn MSP adamant the party must deliver.

Last night, the SNP’s Holyrood group voted 48 for, nine against with four abstentions to suspend Mr Ewing for one week which will come into effect after 14 days if there is no appeal.

Now despite the party considering the issue an internal disciplinary matter Ms McAllan told BBC Good Morning Scotland today what she really did.

Asked how she voted, Ms McAllan started to answer before changing tack, saying: “I don’t think it is fair to ask us to… In full transparency, yes I did.

“It is something I certainly would expect to be the outcome if I had done what Fergus did, of course I wouldn’t. It is part of a normal party mechanism in a democratic system.”

The vote was shrouded in secrecy so for Ms McAllan to voice what she decided will leave a number of MSPs in an awkward position as they refused to discuss what they called “an internal matter for the SNP Holyrood Group.”

The SNP's Highland MSPs were not talking about which way they voted despite their vote being of extreme public interest for the people of not just Mr Ewing’s Inverness and Nairn constituency but also the wider Highlands.

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes stood with Mr Ewing last night, along with his sister MSP Annabell Ewing and MSP Christine Grahame – that is being read as a sign of how she voted.

A spokesperson for Highland MSP Emma Roddick explained that she believes: “Discipline is an internal matter for the SNP Holyrood Group. Out of respect for both parties, Emma will not breach the privacy of the process.”

While a spokeswoman for Maree Todd said: “Maree will not be commenting on internal party matters.”

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

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