Angus MacNeil has criticised the SNP’s “rehash” of his own plan for independence which was strongly rejected by the party four years ago.
The Western Isles MP, who was expelled by the nationalists in August, warned Humza Yousaf’s blueprint for leaving the union is “confusing and muddled”.
He told us he would not have rejoined the party he served for nearly 20 years in Westminster even if he was allowed to.
On day one of the SNP’s Aberdeen conference, party members endorsed Mr Yousaf’s new strategy for independence.
The first minister said his party will begin negotiations if the SNP win the majority of Scottish seats when voters go to the polls.
Yet it remains unclear what the nationalists will do if they are successful and Westminster ignores them anyway.
Mr Yousaf’s plan appears popular with the SNP upper ranks now, but Mr MacNeil’s highly similar proposals in 2019 were dismissed.
The Western Isles MP said then that winning a pro-independence majority at either Holyrood or Westminster should be enough to exit the UK.
Mr MacNeil told us: “We could’ve had independence. We could’ve been independent two years ago. Of course it’s frustrating.
“It’s a rehash, but they’re not fully there.”
The Outer Hebridean veteran was first suspended for one week by the SNP in July after reports of a bust-up with Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara.
Before he was booted out for good, Mr MacNeil said he would continue to sit as an independent in Westminster until a decisive independence plan was unveiled.
‘I wouldn’t have come back’
He told us: “After this conference would’ve been decision time. I wouldn’t have come back on the basis of what they’ve passed.
“It’s confusing and muddled.”
Mr MacNeil fears divisive policies backed by the SNP in Holyrood will harm the party at the next election.
He says it will be untenable for the nationalists to begin independence negotiations if they lose Westminster seats but still have a majority in Scotland.
He cited HPMAs – new laws which would restrict fishing – as one proposal which had alienated potential SNP supporters.
The former party MP said: “They decided to indulge themselves in a lot of stupid policies.
“They think when they do a U-turn on an idiotic policy people will go back to where they were. People are annoyed. I know that from HPMAs.”
He also insisted the SNP must work with all parties in favour of independence ahead of the next UK-wide election.
Mr MacNeil added: “The arrogance has to go. It’s time for a bit of co-operation and humility.”