Sturgeon tells officials to be careful discussing SNPs finances

Nicola Sturgeon: ‘No cause for concern’ about SNP finances in March 2021

Nicola Sturgeon is shown offering a staunch defence of the Scottish National Party’s finances in a leaked clip which emerged today. Speaking during a meeting of the SNP’s ruling body two years ago, the former First Minister urging officials to be “very careful” when it came to discussing the party’s accounts.

The 52-year-old, who stood down last month, spoke after the resignation of three members of her finance and audit committee – Lord Provost Frank Ross, Allison Graham, and Cynthia Guthrie – after they were refused access to the books.

Speaking in a clip obtained by the Sunday Mail, She said: “The party has never been in a stronger financial position than it is right now and that’s a reflection of our strength and our membership.

“I’m not going to get into the details…but, you know, just be very careful about suggestions that there are problems with the party’s finances, because we depend on donors to donate.”

She continued: “There are no reasons for people to be concerned about the party’s finances, and all of us need to be careful about not suggesting that there is.

“We’ve got to be careful we don’t reap what we sow, if we have leaks from this body it limits the ability for open free and frank discussion.”

Peter Murrell, the SNP’s former chief executive and Ms Sturgeon’s husband, was arrested then released without charge on April 5 as part of a police investigation into the party’s finances.

Meanwhile Humza Yousaf, who succeeded Ms Sturgeon as FM on March 27, has denied the SNP faces bankruptcy as he confirmed forensic auditors could be appointed following a meeting of the party’s ruling body.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the SNP’s National Executive Council (NEC) met, Mr Yousaf said the body agreed to hold a governance and transparency review, which he said had been “positive” with no resignations.

Questioned on speculation the party could be bankrupt, he said it is “solvent” and bankruptcy had not been discussed at the NEC.

He said: “We’re not close to bankruptcy. This is something I’ve read in some social media circles but, no, the party is solvent.”

JUST IN: Putin ‘under pressure’ as Russia’s economy nosedives

Asked about the review, he said: “We will ensure we have external input, particularly around the issues of financial oversight.

“So, that may well be forensic accountants, it may well be some other means and method – but I think around the additional financial oversight, external input is really important.”

An interim report on the review is expected in June, with a full report due in autumn and the latter will be made public, Mr Yousaf revealed.

Mr Yousaf, who it emerged last week was unaware before becoming leader that the previous auditors resigned more than six months ago, insisted his party was “desperate” to appoint new ones.

He added: “I’m not concerned about what they might find. I’m concerned about the fact that, from my perspective, we could improve our governance and our transparency and I’m concerned about the fact that in six months we haven’t been able to find auditors.”

Don’t miss…
Humza Yousaf warned ditching the monarchy won’t help SNP[REPORT]
Yousaf says it ‘would have been helpful’ to know auditors quit[LATEST]
SNP fears members are quitting in droves after crisis[INSIGHT]

Mr Yousaf was speaking at a campaign event in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, where the party could face a by-election.

Sitting MP Margaret Ferrier won the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat for the SNP in 2019 – but was later found to have damaged the reputation of the Commons and placed people at risk by taking part in a debate and travelling by train while suffering from COVID-19.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Voters won’t forget Margaret Ferrier’s reckless rule-breaking, no matter how many SNP campervans are dispatched to Rutherglen.

“As Humza Yousaf desperately scrambles to hold his crumbling party together, Scottish Labour is offering real change.

“The SNP is chaotic and divided – the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserve better.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Yesterday, the SNP National Executive Committee agreed to a series of proposals to increase transparency in the SNP. It is the case that the SNP accounts are published annually and are in order.”

Source: Read Full Article