A Highland councillor has quit the SNP, slamming Humza Yousaf’s "incoherent" independence strategy and policies which are “disproportionately focused” on the Central Belt.

Karl Rosie said he was quitting the party with immediate effect and would see out the rest of his term in his Caithness ward as an independent.

The councillor - who was the SNP’s candidate at the 2019 election and worked for Scottish Government minister Maree Todd - said he had “pondered this decision for some time".

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In a statement, he said: “As a staunch supporter of independence for Scotland, I find myself increasingly disillusioned with the incoherent independence strategy that the party has adopted.

“It has become apparent to me that we cannot continue to make promises of independence to the electorate when I believe it is no longer a priority for the party, and I can no longer stand by such inconsistencies.”

Last year, SNP members backed plans to give “democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country” if the party wins a majority of seats at the next general election.

That means if they win 29 of Scotland’s 57 constituencies, the First Minister will demand the UK Government start independence negotiations, or begin talks on either a new referendum or devolving the powers to hold a referendum to Holyrood.

Mr Yousaf has long insisted independence will be "line one, page one" of the party's manifesto.

However, polls have shown the SNP may struggle to win the most seats when Rishi Sunak finally calls a vote.

In his statement, Councillor Rosie went on to say he was “deeply troubled by the SNP's policies, which often seem disproportionately focused on the Central Belt, neglecting the needs and priorities of regions like ours in the Highlands".

He cited Highly Protected Marine Areas, the Deposit Return Scheme, the lack of progress on dualling the A9 duelling and “missed opportunities to develop a meaningful industrial strategy.

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Ms Todd, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: "After years of positive and successful working together as part of the SNP Highland team, it is regretful to see Karl take this decision.

"I wish Karl well on a personal level and hope that we can continue to work together in the best interests of people across the Highlands.

"The SNP will continue to focus on getting the best solution not just for the Highlands, but all of Scotland, and that is through independence.”