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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Warning for MSP Margo
SNP sign in Edinburgh
The meeting was held at the party's HQ
Scottish National Party MSP Margo MacDonald has received a written warning from party chiefs for what has been described as a "severe breach of discipline".

Party whips told a Scottish parliamentary group meeting that she had missed a parliamentary vote without permission and had briefed a Sunday newspaper against party policy.

A rather shaken Ms MacDonald said after the meeting: "I have been disciplined.

'Refute accusations'

"There will now be a further process to follow from that because I completely refute the grounds for being disciplined.

"I believe there were not strong enough reasons to uphold the discipline measure."

She said she had nothing further to say for fear that talking to the media about her written warning could result in a further disciplinary hearing.

The party action came two days after officials suspended the party's national treasurer, who has threatened to sue leader Alex Salmond.

Margo Macdonald
Margo MacDonald: Written warning
Lothian MSP, Ms MacDonald, has been a long-time critic of the party hierarchy.

SNP chief whip Bruce Crawford had written to all MSPs requiring them to attend the special group meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday.

He presented a report on the alleged breaches of discipline and recommended that Ms MacDonald be given a final warning.

But he failed to receive the necessary support from a third of members.

Amendement accepted

An amendment was proposed by Margaret Ewing that Ms MacDonald be given a written warning and that was voted through.

Meanwhile, party leaders have been seeking to play down the bitter internal row over the vote of no confidence and subsequent suspension of party treasurer Ian Blackford.

The successful international investment banker accused Mr Salmond of "control freakery" and of treating him and the party with "utter contempt".

Mr Blackford has consulted his solicitors, who he said took the view that he had a "clear-cut" case for defamation because the vote impugned his professional reputation.

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See also:

24 Sep 99 | Scotland
Independence the goal - Salmond
22 Sep 99 | Scotland
Maverick Margo pulls no punches
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