SNP's Westminster group submits accounts on time saving £1.2 million of short money
The SNP Westminster group has filed its accounts on time and managed to avoid missing out on the public funds used to support its parliamentary work.
Short money is paid to opposition parties in the House of Commons to assist them in their parliamentary work, with the amount each party receives based on how many MPs the party has. However, the SNP has now confirmed the accounts have been filed on time, much to the relief of the Westminster group.
SNP group treasurer Peter Grant said: "I'm pleased to confirm that the annual return for the SNP Westminster group's 'short money' for 2022/23 has received a clean audit certificate and has been submitted, on time, to the parliamentary authorities.
“Throughout this process, SNP MPs have remained focused on standing up for Scotland and supporting our hard-working staff. We will continue to hold the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour to account for the damage their policies are inflicting on Scotland."
A senior SNP source added: "Fair play to both Humza [Yousaf] and Stephen [Flynn]. The circumstances they adopted were far from ideal, but they got the job done."
The SNP has 45 MPs and the Westminster branch is led by Aberdeen South MP Mr Flynn, who said he only learned in February the previous accountants had quit.
Mr Yousaf had claimed he only found out after winning the contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as party leader and First Minister in March that the SNP no longer had an accounting firm in place.
The First Minister had insisted on Tuesday he was “confident” party accounts would be filed, but there has been no announcement at the time of publication.
The party’s previous auditors, Johnston Carmichael, quit in September last year after working with the SNP for ten years.
Johnston Carmichael told the SNP it resigned following a “review of our client portfolio and existing resources and commitments”.
However, this decision was only made public seven months later in April this year, prompting concerns to be raised about transparency in the SNP.
Most within the SNP didn’t know this had happened either, with Mr Yousaf saying he only found out about it after being elected as First Minister.
The party as a whole needs to submit its accounts to watchdogs at the Electoral Commission by July 7, or risk a fine.
Mr Flynn previously said he was “confident” the group would meet its deadline. It comes amid ongoing questions about the SNP finances. Last month saw the SNP’s former chief executive Peter Murrell, who is Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, and its former treasurer Colin Beattie arrested in connection with a police probe into the party’s finances.
Both Mr Murrell and Mr Beattie were released without charge pending further investigation.
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