Fergus Ewing has been suspended by the SNP after a majority of MPs voted to sack the outspoken critic of the party. A two-thirds majority was required to approve the suspension reached on Wednesday evening.
The Inverness and Nairn MSP was represented by John Campbell KC, who was counsel at the Holyrood inquiry.
Ewing was expelled from the party after a series of attacks on his leadership. He has criticised proposed gender reforms and policies he believes could harm the Scottish economy, such as the deposit return scheme and marine protected areas.
Scottish Conservative Leader Craig Hoy said: “Humza Yousaf has once again shown his contempt for remote and rural Scotland by punishing an MP who dared to point out how his government has failed in these areas.
“The SNP leader should listen to Fergus Ewing on issues such as oil and gas, the doubling of the A9 and devastating fishing restrictions, rather than being enslaved by green extremists.
“It tells you everything you need to know about Humza Yousaf’s priorities: Lorna Slater, despite her catastrophic mismanagement of the deposit return system, remains in the government, while a member of her own party, who rightly demanded her resignation, was ostracized.”
Crucially, he backed a Conservative motion earlier this year claiming Holyrood had lost confidence in Scottish Greens Minister Lorna Slater, and only voted against his party on short-term rental licences this week.
He criticized Slater’s handling of the problematic deposit return system and mocked the Greens as “wine bar revolutionaries”, saying behind the failure of the A9: “… to be honest, I don’t think we deserve to stay in government.”
The MSP has divided opinions within the party, and many have come out in its defense. Michelle Thomson warned that Ewing’s suspension would damage the popularity of the SNP leaders.
A spokesman for the SNP Holyrood Group said: “At a meeting tonight it was suggested that Fergus Ewing be suspended from the SNP Holyrood Group for a week.