SNP MSPs are expected to find out tomorrow if any vote to suspend former minister turned rebel Fergus Ewing will be held in secret.

It is understood a two thirds majority is needed for any member to have the whip withdrawn but with different views held among the group some are arguing that any decision taken at a special meeting on Wednesday should not be made via a show of hands.

They contend that if the vote is held openly MSPs opposed to suspending Mr Ewing could be put under pressure to vote with the chief whip's proposed sanction.

SNP MSPs have been told there will be a three-line whip for the meeting on Wednesday, meaning that attendance is compulsory though it would be up to members to decide how they want to vote should there be a proposal to suspend Mr Ewing. Mr Yousaf will not be at the meeting as he is in New York City for climate week.

READ MORE: SNP MSP says it is 'unwise and unnecessary' to suspend Fergus Ewing

It is not clear if Mr Ewing will be at the meeting in person. He was last week working remotely from Holyrood having contracted Covid and may have to continue to do so.

SNP MSPs are due to hear tomorrow when they attend their regular group meeting how the ballot will be taken and how long any proposed suspension would last.

Former leadership contender Kate Forbes said the Inverness and Nairn MSP is "much loved" and communities will draw conclusions about the party if he is treated harshly as she appeared to warn her party about the repercussions of suspending her colleague.

The Herald: Kate Forbes has praised what she described as the Scottish Government's new approach to HPMAsFormer finance secretary and SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes. Photo PA.

Meanwhile, Ms Forbes' campaign manager Michelle Thomson, the SNP MSP for Falkirk East, also intervened saying it would be "unwise and unnecessary" to suspend Mr Ewing from the party.

The group's convener Stuart McMillan called the meeting on Wednesday for SNP MSPs to decide what if any action should be taken against Mr Ewing who has rebelled against the government on several occasions.

His most significant is considered to be his vote to support a Conservative motion of no confidence in Scottish Government economy minister Lorna Slater in June. He was expected to be sanctioned then, but the death of his mother, the legendary SNP politician Winnie Ewing, is said to have paused any action.

READ MORE: What’s Humza Yousaf going to do about Fergus Ewing?

First Minister Humza Yousaf described the no confidence motion disciplinary issue against Mr Ewing in an interview earlier this month as "very serious".

Speaking to the Record, he said: “It was a very serious matter indeed. And there was, I think, understandable reasons why the group chose not to deal with internal party discipline matters at the end of the parliamentary term, but clearly the group may want to pick those matters up when they return."

Mr Ewing is one of Scotland's highest profile backbenchers was awarded an "MSP of the year" title at a political magazine's ceremony earlier this month.

Since debate has intensified over whether he will be suspended he has continued to be critical of the Scottish Government policy voting with the Tories against a new licensing regime for short-term lets last Tuesday.

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing shows no sign of backing down before showdown

Last week The Times reported that SNP whips will push for Mr Ewing to be suspended for one week.

The Herald had earlier be told that the Inverness MSP had been facing a "short suspension" of a "few weeks".

However, it is understood that the length of time may have  been reviewed with the leadership in favour of a "light touch" approach.

“They know that anything too extreme would be rebelled against,” one MSP told The Times.

“There has been a bit of pushback,” a separate source said.