THE SNP rebellion over Nato membership and its impact on nuclear disarmament has grown, with a Government whip sending a supportive message to this weekend's party CND group gathering in Glasgow.

Anniesland MSP Bill Kidd has been careful to avoid coming down for or against the motion or amendment on the issue at October's SNP conference.

Nine MSPs are already declared opponents of moves by the party's defence spokesman and Westminster group leader Angus Robertson to change SNP policy and remain in the Nato if Scotland becomes independent.

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The CND group meeting in Glasgow tomorrow has become a rallying point for opposition to that change, arguing that remaining in Nato will make it harder for Scotland to insist on the removal of the Trident base on the Clyde.

Mr Kidd cannot attend the meeting because he will be in Kazakhstan as part of a delegation of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in his capacity as one of the Global Council Members of the organisation.

But in sending his apologies for his absence tomorrow he said he was sure it would "make a useful contribution to the Nato membership element of the SNP Conference's Defence and International Relations debate".

The SNP whip at Holyrood added: "It is also important to remind ourselves that our party is engaged in what all mature and truly democratic parties do when major policy issues are to be discussed.

"Indeed this conference debate confirms the SNP as not only Scotland's principal progressive party but also Scotland's principal democratic party."