SNP ‘asked for data platform’ from Cambridge Analytica

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The company at the heart of an alleged Facebook data-mining controversy has hit back at a former SNP strategist who said they were “a bunch of cowboys” and “snake oil salesmen”.

Cambridge Analytica claimed the SNP was “very keen to maintain an association” following a meeting in February 2016.

Cambridge Analytica spokesperson Clarence Mitchell speaks during a press conference in London. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Cambridge Analytica spokesperson Clarence Mitchell speaks during a press conference in London. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

The comments are at odds with the account given by the SNP and Kirk Torrance, the former digital strategist revealed on Monday as the party representative who met Cambridge Analytica.

READ MORE: Identity of SNP consultant who met Cambridge Analytica revealed

No work was carried out for the SNP, but company spokesman Clarence Mitchell told a press conference: “Cambridge Analytica at the time in early 2016 did speak with two representatives of the SNP, and there was a subsequent series of phonecalls and email contact.

“The party... was very keen to maintain an association... They were interested in us developing a platform to help them manage their data, but it was put on hold because of the [EU] referendum.

“But for it to be suggested that we were dismissed as cowboys and nothing further happened is not true.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “Enough is enough. The SNP must answer basic questions over its dealings with Cambridge Analytica.”

An SNP spokesman said “attempts by Cambridge Analytica to follow up the meeting were not reciprocated”.

“Cambridge Analytica simply can’t keep their story straight,” the spokesman said. “Last week they falsely claimed multiple meetings with the SNP in London and Edinburgh. At the weekend they ludicrously claimed the SNP secretly supported Brexit.

“The SNP has never worked with Cambridge Analytica, used any of its services or paid them a penny.”