Senior SNP politician who pushed 'Plan B' on independence steps down from role with local party

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A former SNP depute leadership candidate - who was one of the driving forces behind the so-called independence 'Plan B' - is stepping down from his role as leader of the party's group on Inverclyde council.

Announcing the move on Twitter, SNP councillor Christopher McEleny said the role had given him "invaluable" experience in politics.

Chris McEleny.

Chris McEleny.

He pushed for the "Plan B" resolution at the party's conference that would bypass the need for a second referendum on independence if a majority in Scotland voted for pro-independence parties at the next Holyrood election.

READ MORE: Senior SNP figure calls for Autumn referendum

Nicola Sturgeon and other senior party figures rejected the move - which was also backed by at least one MP - saying that a referendum was the only feasible and legally watertight way to guarantee independence.

Mr McEleny received a hostile reception from some delegates at the party's recent annual conference in Aberdeen.

In a statement posted on social media, he said: "I have been lucky to be at the sharp end of politics for the past seven years and the experience I have gained is invaluable.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon faces down rebels in SNP over 'wildcat' referendum

"It is for that reason that I believe the party will be stronger as a whole if others are afforded the opportunity to gain the experience I have benefited from as the council group leader, therefore I shall be stepping down as SNP leader in Inverclyde."

He said he would continue to serve as a councillor.