MSP Andy Wightman said he has not ruled out standing in the Holyrood elections as an independent candidate, or for another party.

The Lothians representative quit the Scottish Greens today after being torn over a vote in Holyrood last week.

He said he was "ashamed" of how he had voted on the Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill last week, around one particular amendment. 

The Bill is intended to ensure victims of sexual offences are given forensic medical examinations, and it enables them to refer themselves for exams even if they do not report their assault to the police.

Johan Lamont proposed an amendment to the bill's wording, changing a reference of "gender" to "sex". 

Mr Wightman said he wanted to vote in favour of this amendment, but was warned if he did so he could be subject to complaints by party members. 

He said that he was a supported of transgender rights, however believed there were discussions around people's concerns that needed to be had and these had been "shut down". 

It stems from the ongoing debate around gender recognition act reforms, what constitutes gender and what constitutes biological sex.

Mr Wightman told The Herald:" I was ashamed at voting the way I did."

He said discussion around the issues of gender, this bill in particular and other issues were being "shut down" within the party, and it created an environment in which he could not function.

He explained: "I was left heading in to that debate [on the Forensic Services Bill], having just spoken to my researcher thinking 'Gosh, if I vote yes does that mean I resign as a Green MSP, and then she is made redundant tomorrow?'

"I voted in the end for the status quo, and then decided to resign about 12 hours later. I decided to resign about a week ago.

"The discussions leading up to the vote, a week yesterday, were... It was made clear to me that if I voted yes none of my colleagues would take any action against me but there would be people in the party who would complain and those complaints would be taken very very seriously.

"It was made clear that the scale of my action would very possibly lead to the kind of sanctions such as deselection... that was clearly something that was in contemplation... This close out to an election, that would have been...I think maybe a 70 per cent likelihood of happening." 

Mr Wightman has long been an advocate for renters' rights and is an expert on land ownership laws and legislation in Scotland.

He was also one of the most prominent Scottish Green MSPs, alongside its co-leader Patrick Harvie.

Mr Wightman said he has not ruled out standing in the Holyrood elections in May, for another party or going it alone.

He said: "I need to give myself a bit more headspace.

"I haven't ruled out standing in the next election...." 

When asked if that would mean standing as an independent, he replied: " Or another party.

"I've not ruled anything out.

"If the Scottish Green party were to undergo a very rapid change in their outlook and posture, as I argued in my letter, then there is every chance I would rejoin but that's very much gone for the purposes of May.

"It's unlikely that i would join another party but I've not ruled anything out."