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Time for Humza Yousaf to come clean on SNP finances

The Scottish Conservatives will today (Wednesday) renew their calls for a statement from Humza Yousaf on the state of the SNP’s finances.

Douglas Ross will lead a debate in parliament in which Holyrood’s main opposition party will demand greater transparency from the SNP on both party and government affairs.

The debate comes against the backdrop of a police probe into SNP finances – which has seen disgraced former chief executive Peter Murrell and ex-treasurer Colin Beattie arrested – and the party’s auditors resigning, sparking speculation over possible bankruptcy.

The Scottish Conservatives insist “legitimate questions” must be addressed by the First Minister because if there is an “imminent threat to the SNP’s viability” as a legal entity, it would have obvious consequences for Scotland’s government.

In addition, addressing the on-going crisis within his party is distracting Humza Yousaf from his duties as leader of the Scottish government.

Douglas Ross’ motion – which will be debated during the Scottish Conservatives’ party business time – draws comparisons between the secrecy shown by the SNP in party matters and their lack of accountability and transparency in government. It calls for more openness in both areas.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “These questions are not going away for the First Minister and SNP leader, who recently had to step in as the SNP’s acting treasurer.

“He cannot stick his fingers in his ears and claim this is not a matter for his government – as well as his party – especially if the SNP were to face bankruptcy or an imminent threat to their viability.

“This is clearly also a government matter if the First Minister is compromised, his hands are tied, or if he has been kept in the dark about his party’s affairs – as was the case with the resignation of the SNP’s auditors.

“Right now, the real priorities of Scotland are being ignored by him and the SNP government because they are distracted by the meltdown in the party.

“The unacceptable secrecy that has characterised the SNP in government – on ferries, the Lochaber smelter, the Salmond affair and many others – is equally evident in its internal financial scandal, and it has to stop. 

“The public must have confidence that Humza Yousaf is treating this investigation as seriously as possible and this debate gives him the opportunity to address these questions in full.”

Note:

 

The text of the Scottish Conservative motion

 

S6M-08764 Douglas Ross: Transparency of Scotland's Governing Party—That the Parliament believes that the First Minister, as leader of the governing party of Scotland, should make a statement to the chamber of the Scottish Parliament about the governance of the Scottish National Party (SNP); agrees that these are matters of public interest and should be properly scrutinised and debated in the national parliament; notes that the Scottish Government has lacked transparency and openness in its administration of government across Scotland; calls, therefore, on the Scottish Government to end its pre-release access of statistics, deliver a more transparent budget process, give arm’s-length bodies control over information publication, publish a transparency list of public sector officials who earn more than the First Minister, set swifter publication dates for ministerial expenses and transport dates and improve scrutiny of breaches of the ministerial code, and condemns the SNP for its lack of candour about its membership and governance, and for its abject failure to concentrate on the priorities of the people of Scotland.