FORMER SNP MP Angus MacNeil has said that he would rejoin the party if Kate Forbes were ever to become leader.

The MP was expelled earlier this month after he was given an initial one-week suspension from the party’s Westminster group following a public clash with chief whip Brendan O’Hara.  

He then refused to re-join the group, claiming he would only do so when the SNP showed urgency on independence.

MacNeil said he believed Forbes (below) would be a “unifying force with a focus on independence” and argued that she would win a leadership contest if a vote were held today.

The National: Scottish National Party leadership election

In an interview with the West Highland Free Press, Forbes admitted she would be “incredibly reluctant” to stand again but added: “The only reason I would not say never is – who can control the way circumstances unfold.

“The membership made their decision, and I am not sore about it. I respect democracy. The only thing that exercises me is that I think it is high time we had a Highlander at the helm.”

Asked if he would consider re-joining the SNP under Forbes’s leadership, MacNeil told the Daily Record: “Yes, I think she would be a unifying force with a focus on independence. Some leaders led for 20 years without expulsions and were clear about independence – while others have not managed 20 weeks without expelling people and are clueless about steps to independence.

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil and Alex Salmond to meet to discuss Yes path

“I’m confident that Kate is now the members’ choice – and if that was tested it would be found correct – after all democracy is a process not an event.”

Forbes lost the SNP leadership contest earlier this year to Humza Yousaf, winning 48% of the vote and rejecting a job in the Scottish Cabinet.

She previously said she was “highly, highly unlikely” to run again and that she had “not just dodged a bullet, but perhaps something even more explosive than that”.