A CONSERVATIVE MP backed a bid to give Holyrood the power to legislate for a second independence referendum.

On Tuesday, Alba MP Neale Hanvey proposed a bill to amend the Scotland Act 1998 to devolve powers over independence – but it was rejected by 228 votes to 48 despite the majority of Scottish MPs backing it.

A total of 38 SNP MPs backed Hanvey’s bill, as did his Alba colleague Kenny MacAskill, Green MP Caroline Lucas, and representatives from Plaid Cymru and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Philip Hollobone (below), the Tory MP for Kettering, voted in support of the bill, Westminster’s official record of votes in the Commons shows.

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Rob Roberts, who was elected on a Conservative ticket but lost the whip after being found to have sexually harassed a member of staff, also backed Alba’s proposal.

Of the 228 MPs who voted against Hanvey’s bill, the majority (157) were from Labour.

Both of Scottish Labour’s two MPs – Ian Murray and Michael Shanks – voted against the proposal to give Holyrood more powers. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross voted with them.

Tommy Sheppard, an SNP MP who backed the bill, quipped: “At least one Tory MP seems interested in discussing Scotland’s future, just a shame that not a single Labour MP felt the same.”

He went on: "With Labour MPs like Ian Murray and Michael Shanks voting against more powers for the Scottish Parliament and Scotland's democratic right to choose our own future, it's clear voting SNP at the General Election is the only way to make Scotland's voice heard and put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands.”

Hanvey (below) said the defeat of his bid to have more powers devolved represented “the Empire’s last gasp and put beyond any doubt that the UK is not the ‘Union of Equals’ that has been claimed”.

The National: Former SNP leadership contender Ash Regan (right) with Alba's Westminster leader Neale Hanvey during a photocall at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, after she defected from the SNP, becoming the Alba Party's first ever MSP. Picture date:

He went on: “A clear majority of Scottish MPs (40 out of 59) voted for this bill to transfer the power to legislate for a Scottish independence referendum to the Scottish Parliament only to see it defeated by the combined votes of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs in other parts of the UK.

“This explicit repudiation of Scotland’s national rights is a significant and defining moment. Scottish democracy was dealt a critical blow by Westminster today but the inalienable right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs must and will prevail.

“The focus now shifts to the Scottish Parliament and the bill being proposed by Ash Regan MSP. Her bill would allow for a referendum to be held to ask the people of Scotland if they think the Scottish Parliament should have the powers to negotiate and legislate for independence.

“It is time to break the constitutional log-jam by putting Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands and the First Minister must now back Ash Regan’s bill.”

Hollobone has been approached for comment on his reasons for backing Alba’s bill.