John Finnie MSP and Jean Urquhart MSP have tendered their resignation as members of the Scottish National Party following the SNP’s adoption of a pro-NATO stance at its Party Conference last weekend.
They will continue to sit as Independent MSPs for the Highlands and Islands with no official party affiliation.
The two Highlands and Islands list MSPs announced their decision at Eden Court in Inverness, describing their decision of principle as “heart-wrenching”.
John Finnie, who first joined the SNP when he was 16, said:
“I understand that there are those who wish to stay within the SNP and to continue to fight our corner in this essential debate, and I accept their reasons for doing so.
“However, I cannot continue to belong to a party that quite rightly does not wish to hold nuclear weapons on its soil, but wants to join a first strike nuclear alliance.
“Although I envisage that I will continue to share common ground with the SNP on many issues, I cannot in good conscience continue to take the party whip.”
Jean Urquhart, who has been a supporter of independence for 25 years and a CND member for 35 years, added:
“The issue of nuclear disarmament and removing Trident from Scotland’s waters is a red line issue for me, and I could not remain committed to a party that has committed itself to retaining membership of NATO.
“We are both steadfast in our belief that Scotland should be an independent country, and will actively and positively campaign for a Yes vote in 2014.
“We believe in an independent Scotland, not a NATO-dependent Scotland.
“John and I will continue to work with MSPs across the Chamber for a fairer and more peaceful Scotland.
“Importantly, we look forward to continuing to represent the residents of the Highlands and Islands as we have done since May 2011.”