SNP MP Angus MacNeil has been expelled from the party and will now sit as an independent.  

No longer one of its politicians, Mr MacNeil said he  has also been barred from the ‘rank and file’ after 30 years as a member and almost 20 as a politician. 

How has it come to this?  

Mr MacNeil's expulsion followed a clash with chief whip Brendan O'Hara and criticism of the party's strategy on independence describing it as "utterly clueless". 

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil expelled from SNP after row with chief whip

He was initially suspended from the party's Westminster group for a week in July- but refused to rejoin and said he would sit as an independent MP until October.  

The party's conduct committee met on Thursday evening to discuss the case - and Mr MacNeil, 53, later tweeted saying he has been expelled, using a kangaroo emoji to refer to the member conduct committee. 

What’s been going on in the background? 

Something of a fundamentalist when it comes to independence, Mr MacNeil has been critical of the party’s enthusiasm for a second referendum.  

He has criticised former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for not having a ‘Plan B’ after attempts to force a vote through the courts failed, and also tlambasted the strategy of “kicking the can down the road”. 

In his letter announcing he would not retake the whip, he said: “"The SNP still have no clear understanding that it has to use elections to negotiate Scottish independence from Westminster by getting the backing of the majority of the electorate. 

"The SNP membership must have a say at conference on the policy direction, which it hasn't until now. 

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil will not rejoin SNP until party 'pursues independence'

"The tricks of the last six years of kicking the can down the road has not served Scotland well in matching our successful neighbours, instead we are trapped with Brexit in a socially failing UK.” 

Has he said anything else?  

In an exclusive interview with The Herald, before his expulsion but after his suspension, Mr MacNeil said he was “in despair” over the party’s “fear” to do anything about independence.  

He said: “In my view the best way to proceed is to have a stand-alone Holyrood election that specifically calls for a referendum.” 

“Humza Yousaf is saying it’s a majority of seats that’s required in a de facto referendum, but it’s not. A de facto referendum is won on votes not seats."

The Herald:   Humza Yousaf

He added: “Humza needs to be bold and say: ‘Look, I know a majority of the electorate have indicated a preference for independence and I also know a lot of people don’t like my party or what we’ve done in government. But regardless, I’m willing to put everything we’ve got on independence. It may damage us and end our political careers, but when you vote in this it will be a de facto referendum and afterwards you’ll have the chance to vote for which party you want to lead an independent nation’.” 

Is there a way back for him with the party?  

It’s not looking likely, given how events have unfolded. The MP is now saying he will stand as an independent in his seat at the next general election.