SNP MPs are to hear whether the Ewing vote would be held in secret

They argue that if the vote were held openly, MSPs opposed to Mr Ewing’s suspension could be pressured to vote with the Chief Whip’s proposed sanction.

SNP MPs have been told there will be a three-member vote at Wednesday’s meeting, meaning attendance will be compulsory. However, Mr. Yousaf will be in New York City for Climate Week.

READ MORE: SNP MSP says it is “unwise and unnecessary” to suspend Fergus Ewing

It is also not clear whether Mr. Ewing will attend the meeting in person. He worked remotely from Holyrood last week after contracting Covid and may have to continue to do so.

SNP MSPs will find out how the vote will go and how long a proposed suspension would last at their regular caucus meeting tomorrow.

Former leader Kate Forbes said the Inverness and Nairn MSP was “very popular” and communities would draw conclusions about the party if he was treated harshly, as she appeared to warn her party of the impact of her colleague’s suspension.

The Herald: Kate Forbes has praised the Scottish Government's new approach to HPMAsFormer finance minister and SNP frontrunner Kate Forbes. Photo PA.

Meanwhile, Ms Forbes’ campaign manager, Michelle Thomson, the SNP MP for Falkirk East, also intervened, saying it was “unwise and unnecessary” to suspend Mr Ewing from the party.

The group’s leader, Stuart McMillan, called a meeting of SNP MPs on Wednesday to decide whether action should be taken against Mr Ewing, who has rebelled against the government on several occasions.

His most significant vote is considered to be his support for a Conservative motion of no confidence in the Scottish government’s business secretary, Lorna Slater, in June. A sanction against him was expected at the time, but the death of his mother, the legendary SNP politician Winnie Ewing, is said to have interrupted all measures.

READ MORE: What will Humza Yousaf do about Fergus Ewing?

First Minister Humza Yousaf described the disciplinary issue of the no-confidence motion against Mr Ewing as “very serious” in an interview earlier this month.

Speaking to The Record, he said: “It was a very serious matter indeed. And I think there were understandable reasons why the group chose not to deal with internal party disciplinary issues at the end of the term, but it is clear that the group wants to take up these matters again when they return.”

Mr Ewing is one of Scotland’s best-known backbenchers and was named MSP of the Year at a political magazine ceremony earlier this month.

As the debate over whether he will be suspended has intensified, he continues to criticize the policy of the Scottish Government, which voted with the Tories last Tuesday against a new licensing system for short-term lets.

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing shows no signs of backing down before the showdown

Last week the Times reported that SNP people will push for Mr Ewing to be suspended for a week.

The Herald had previously been told the Inverness MSP was facing a “short suspension” of “a few weeks”.

However, it is understood the duration may have been agreed with leadership in favor of a ‘lightweight’ approach.

“They know that anything too extreme would be opposed,” one MSP told the Times.

“There was a little resistance,” another source said.

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