THE SNP were forced to attempt to intervene in the Supreme Court case on indyref2 because they were unimpressed with the “apostate” Lord Advocate’s submission for the Scottish Government, an Alba MP has claimed.

Kenny MacAskill, a former justice secretary who defected from the SNP to Alex Salmond’s party, claimed it was clear Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top law officer, “has no faith” in the Scottish Government’s argument it has the legal power to hold a second independence referendum without Westminster’s permission.

The East Lothian MP, who was responsible for the release of the Pan Am bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, branded the SNP’s effort to get their independence bill cleared by the court as “farce” saying it had “as much chance of success as I have of getting an American Green Card”.

In her largely neutral submission, the Lord Advocate conceded she did not “have the necessary degree of confidence” to answer whether the bill was within the powers of Holyrood.

It was seized upon by Unionist politicians, with Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron saying Bain was “not confident that the First Minister’s plan to hold a divisive and unwanted referendum has any legal basis”.

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As the Scottish Government’s top lawyer, the Lord Advocate is expected to be a politically neutral adviser to ministers, with MacAskill himself arguing this position in a House of Commons debate he led on the matter in July.  

Writing in The Scotsman on Thursday, MacAskill said: “The Lord Advocate doesn’t even believe in the core policy of the government in which she serves. You’d have thought in the real world you’d avoid appointing an apostate to such a critical position. 

“Her submissions to the Supreme Court are the written equivalent of the legal cop-out of “my client advises me” i.e. I’m only saying what they tell me and I don’t believe a word of it myself.”

He argued the SNP had effectively been embarrassed into action by the Lord Advocate’s submission to the court, saying this was why the party had applied to intervene to set out its own, more forceful case on why they believe their bill legal.

“It’s so manifest that the SNP are now seeking to enter into the action which has been brought by the government they control.

“Why? Because the person representing them doesn’t believe in the policy she’s being asked to promote on their behalf. What a waste of valuable party funds.”

An apostate usually refers to someone who has formally renounced a religious faith.

The National has approached the SNP for comment.

The Scottish Government declined to comment.