Angus MacNeil suspended after clash with chief whip Brendan O’Hara

Stephen Flynn suspends Angus MacNeil from SNP after accusing Brendan O’Hara of bullying

By Bill Heaney

The SNP is in more turmoil than many people think. The party’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has suspended the whip from the Western Isles MP MP Angus MacNeil following his serious accusations  against local MP Brendan O’Hara.

He suspended MacNeil from the party a day after he accused its chief Westminster whip of bullying.

And 24 hours after another MP who is never far from controversy, Mairi Black, said she was quitting politics at the next General Election.

The initial clash between MacNeil and O’Hara, pictured left in the bunnet, is said to have taken place on Monday. The Western Isles MP is said to have accused Brendan O’Hara of bullying, following the “tense exchange” in the House of Commons.

STV News is reporting that the row was about his attendance in parliament, but The Democrat believes the party is unhappy about the recent publicity MacNeil has been attracting in regard to to his private life.

MacNeil is said to have labelled O’Hara, who was once a journalist on a Catholic newspaper,  a “small wee man” and Stephen Flynn has now suspended the whip from him for one week.

Following the clash with O’Hara, MacNeil has tweeted: “General advice — Always stand up to bullies, — esp any abusing their positions — particularly those who scurry around shouting to anyone listening, ‘I’ll get him, I’ll get him, I will get him! — mark my words’.

“These are people, who from school, we should get taught to face down.”

The SNP figure also shared a reply to his tweet, which said: “Yes. They are cowards. They can never operate without a similar wee clique of nasty cowards around them.

“They’re also never intelligent people, or they wouldn’t behave that way to cover it.”

This latest episode of in-fighting is certain to lead to acres more of bad publicity for the Nationalist party who are currently on course to lose seven MPs before the election.

Later today, the Scottish Daily Express reported that it is thought the tweet’s reference to ‘I’ll get him’ was from a previous argument about whether Mr MacNeil should be in the chamber for a debate when he was campaigning to become chairman of the energy security and net zero select committee.

It is alleged that Mr O’Hara swore at him. MacNeil has been an MP since 2005 but is thought to be one of a number Nationalist politicians under threat of losing their jobs with Labour rising in the polls.

It comes amid reports that SNP MPs are unhappy with Mr O’Hara’s heavy-handed approach as chief whip.

The Argyll and Bute MP is a member of the so-called Tuesday Club, a group of curry and beer-loving MPs who helped Mr Flynn oust Ian Blackford as the party’s Westminster leader.

One source told The Times: “He thinks he’s a prison officer but he’s drunk on what he perceives as his own power. Brendan is a clown who should take up knitting or something useful.”

Top picture: The SNP Group pictured during a debate in the House of Commons when Martin Docherty Hughes was briefly the party’s chief whip..


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