Stephen Flynn admits SNP Westminster group could miss out on £1.2m if accounts deadline missed

The SNP’s Westminster group could miss out on more than £1 million if it fails to file accounts by the end of May, MP Stephen Flynn has warned.

Mr Flynn, who leads the SNP in the House of Commons, said the party is doing “everything possible” to meet this deadline but finding auditors for the group is proving difficult.

He also revealed that he only became aware of the lack of auditors on February 10, despite becoming the group’s leader in December.

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Separate accounts need to be submitted for the Westminster group by May 31 in order to receive “short money” – public funding for opposition parties to carry out their parliamentary work.

Stephen FlynnStephen Flynn
Stephen Flynn

The SNP as a whole is also currently lacking auditors, meaning the Electoral Commission could take action if accounts are not submitted on time.

It comes amid the ongoing police investigation into the SNP’s finances, which saw its former chief executive Peter Murrell and treasurer Colin Beattie arrested earlier this month.

Both men were released without charge pending further inquiry.

Mr Flynn was asked about the Westminster group’s difficulty in finding auditors as he appeared on the Good Morning Scotland radio programme.

He said: “I thought it would be a relatively straightforward process to go and secure new auditors. That’s obviously proven not to be the case.”

This is partly due to the fact that the financial year is nearing its end as well as the overall challenges in the party’s finances, he said.

He continued: “We need to have our accounts for short money in place by May 31, I believe.

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“So every effort that can be made to ensure that happens is being made and of course we’re in contact with the House of Commons authorities meantime in relation to it.”

He said he understands that the SNP will miss out on around £1.2 million in short money if accounts are not submitted by this deadline, describing it as a “situation which is in a state of flux”.

Mr Flynn continued: “I wouldn’t want to incur any concern amongst staff that we aren’t going to be able to meet our deadlines.

“We’re doing everything possible to ensure that that is the case.”

The Aberdeen South MP also said he became aware of the group’s lack of auditors on February 10, when a party official told him so.

It was put to him that his predecessor, Ian Blackford, had said that all “relevant information” was handed over to the new leader during the changeover in December.

Mr Flynn said: “There may well have been discussions between other people but certainly, in relation to myself, I became fully aware of the situation on February 10.”

He said he did not receive the £33,000 salary boost which former Westminster leader Angus Robertson enjoyed.

Mr Flynn said the salary top-up is “not something which I’m overly surprised about” given the additional responsibilities of the role.



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