John Wilson resignaton cuts SNP majority to one

John Wilson MSP, who has announced he will resign from the SNP.
John Wilson MSP, who has announced he will resign from the SNP.
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THE Scottish National Party (SNP) is to be left with a majority of just one after it emerged Central Scotland MSP John Wilson is to resign.

Mr Wilson said he made his decision after “increasing conflict” over the SNP’s defence policy including its position on Trident and change of heart about membership of NATO.

In a draft resignation letter to First Minister Alex Salmond, which has been seen by The Scotsman, Mr Wilson said he did not resign sooner to avoid damaging the independence referendum campaign, and said he remained committed to the concept of Scottish independence.

But he went on to cite the SNP’s decision to abandon its long-standing opposition to membership of NATO, as a key reason for leaving the party.

He said: “I’ve made a decision to go to resign from the SNP and the SNP whip. It was in terms of policy about Nato. There was a divergence of policy differences. There were a lot of issues. Things were happening with local branches and complaints about the headquarters. It was about internal democracy.”

Mr Wilson, MSP for Central Scotland, said he would serve out his term at Holyrood as an independent MSP and would decide whether to support the SNP in parliamentary votes on an “issue by issue” basis. He declined to say whether he would stand for election as an independent in 2016.

His resignation leaves the SNP with a majority of just one at the Scottish Parliament, as the SNP

The SNP lost two of the original 69 MSPs elected in the party’s 2011 landslide victory, when John Finnie and Jean Urquhart quit after the party voted to scrap its opposition to NATO at its 2012 conference.

Mr Salmond’s Holyrood majority was further depleted when Bill Walker was expelled from the SNP after he was convicted for assaulting his former wives and jailed for 12 months.