A senior source told The Herald on Sunday that the veteran MP had clearly broken the party’s rules on publicly resigning.
This has been disputed by Mr MacNeil and his supporters, who say he never resigned from his SNP membership but rather refused to rejoin the Westminster Group.
He announced on Wednesday that he would remain in office as an independent after being suspended for a week following a dispute with Editor-in-Chief Brendan O’Hara.
In a lengthy statement, Mr MacNeil said he would only run as the SNP candidate in the next election if there was “clarity on independence” after the October conference. He accused the leadership of being “completely clueless”.
He was then officially suspended by the party on Friday, and the conduct committee of SNP members had to launch an investigation.
However, our source said it was unlikely there would ever be a return for the outspoken politician.
They also suspected that the deputy jumped from Na h-Eileanan and Iar before being pushed.
CONTINUE READING: Angus MacNeil: Nicola Sturgeon silenced colleagues on independence issue
Mr. MacNeil has represented the Western Isles constituency since 2005.
The seat is a key target for the Scottish Labor Party in the next general election.
They hired former Daily Record journalist Torcuil Crichton to overthrow the Nationalist majority of 2,438.
In his letter on Wednesday, Mr MacNeil made it clear that he “would definitely be running on an independence platform in the next Nah Eileanan election to Lar”.
That could mean taking on the SNP.
In an interview with The Herald’s Kevin McKenna, Mr Macneil said if the party put up a candidate against him, it would confirm that the leadership was “more interested in vendettas and scoring points than in promoting independence”.
Splitting the Yes supporters’ vote would almost certainly guarantee Labor a victory in a constituency of just 21,106 voters.
“It feels like Torcuil has to explain a donation of this magnitude,” a Labor source told The Herald.
CONTINUE READING: Angus MacNeil will not rejoin the SNP until the party ‘seeks independence’
When asked about his administrative suspension on Friday, Mr MacNeil said: “I have not left the SNP and I hope the SNP has not left me because that is what went wrong at Labor in Scotland.”
A senior party source denied this to The Herald on Sunday: “It seems like a very public resignation.” So yes, it’s a breach of the rules.
“He seems to give the impression that he is somehow in control of events – when the party is in the process of making internal selections, including for incumbent MPs. The reality is he saw the signs on the wall.”
Supporters of Mr MacNeil point out that he did not resign his membership when he refused to step down from Westminster and that this cannot be taken as a public resignation.
They also said a public resignation must “damage” the party.
Mr MacNeil himself said he would deny it was a public resignation.
However, others have pointed to Margo MacDonald’s decision to stand as an independent in the 2003 Holyrood election, despite being a member of the SNP.
The then National Secretary, Stewart Hosie, considered this a “public resignation”.
In a letter to her he said: “If you express your intention and consequently oppose the SNP, I would consider your action a public exit from the Scottish National Party.”
Elections for the general elections, which are widely expected next year, are now underway and potential candidates must submit their applications before August 21st.
It is unlikely that the SNP members’ conduct committee’s investigation will be completed by then.
The dispute between Mr MacNeil and Mr O’Hara reportedly revolved around the MP missing out on important votes in the House of Commons, including once when he was on a trip to Qatar.
Guido Fawkes’ blog reported that Mr MacNeil yelled at Mr O’Hara several times, “You’re a little, little man.”
An SNP spokesman said: “Angus MacNeil, MP, was informed by the SNP national secretary on Wednesday that he believed her decision to resign from the SNP Westminster group was breaching the party’s code of conduct.”
“Having acknowledged this, Mr MacNeil declined the offer to rejoin the SNP group and the matter was therefore referred to the SNP Members’ Conduct Committee for consideration yesterday.”
Ian Murray, shadow secretary of Labor in Scotland, said: “As nationalists escalate into petty drama and infighting, Labor is focused on ousting the Tories and bringing about the change Scotland sorely needs.”
“The Labor candidate in the Western Isles is the local champion and the strong voice island communities deserve. He will be an MP who focuses on the issues that really matter.”
“Scotland deserves better than this divided and scandal-plagued SNP – only Labor can offer a fresh start after the demise of the SNP and Tory.”
CONTINUE READING: Angus MacNeil has suspended SNP membership
Whatever happens in the next election, the Westminster faction of the SNP will look very different from 2019.
On the party’s most recent Independence Day, the focus in the second half of the day was on the next parliamentary elections.
Three MPs Stephen Flynn, Mhairi Black and Stewart Hosie gave a presentation entitled “A Campaign for Victory”.
In the weeks since both Ms Black and Mr Hosie announced they will not contest the vote, which is widely expected next year.
Ms Black said she was “tired” of “toxic” Westminster and described it as a “horrible place”.
At press time, seven members of the Westminster Group have said they will be stepping down.
As well as Ms Black and Mr Hosie, former chairman Ian Blackford, Doug Chapman, Angela Crawley, John McNally and Peter Grant are also ready to give up their spurs.
A number of others are expected to follow suit.
MPs have until the end of the month to let National Secretary Lorna Finn know whether they will stand again.
Those planning to do so include Alyn Smith, Pete Wishart, David Linden, Chris Law, Allan Dorans, Gavin Newlands, Kirsty Blackman, Martyn Day, Drew Hendry, Anne McLaughlin and Richard Thomson.
Joanna Cherry, who has had her own struggles with the leadership of the SNP, will also seek the nomination for an Edinburgh South West re-election.