Beyond trading blows in televised debates, the SNP leadership contest has descended yet further into infighting as candidates Ash Regan and Kate Forbes have called on the party establishment to ensure a “fair and transparent leadership election”. Despite previously questioning the SNP National Secretary, the candidates say they are “yet to receive a response”. The candidates want figures on the total number of members and voting papers that have been issued, adding it is “crucial to fostering trust and confidence” in the electoral process. It’s easy to see why they might have concerns…
The letter is addressed to Peter Murrell, the Chief Executive Officer of the SNP. Co-conspirators won’t need reminding that this is the same Peter Murrell who loaned the party – which is currently under investigation for fraud – £100,000 off the books. Oh and he’s also Nicola Sturgeon’s husband. As the party establishment has filed in behind Humza’s campaign, it won’t surprise co-conspirators to see his name absent from the letter – though he has also since called for the figures to be published.
SNP MP and Humza backer Pete Wishart – although also in favour of publishing the figures – was quick to discredit concerns. He said the “conspiracy theories will make Trump look like Nelson Mandela…”
For goodness sake. Can someone in HQ just let everybody know the size of the leadership electorate. If not the conspiracy theories will make Trump look like Nelson Mandela…. https://t.co/bRVkeyonpH— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) March 15, 2023
However, Kate Forbes’ campaign were undeterred in the quest for electoral transparency. They went further last night, after their first two letters went ignored, and called for the appointment of an independent third party auditor to oversee the process. Forbes’ Campaign Manager added the overseer “must have full oversight of all membership numbers, data and processes” and should be appointed “without delay”. As the SNP establishment is yet to relent, one pertinent quote from Stalin springs to Guido’s mind: “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.”
UPDATE: The SNP have issued a new statement defending the integrity of the contest. They’re still not revealing the number of voting members…
NEW UPDATE: The SNP have now published their membership figures, showing a decline of over 30% in just over a year. You can see why they dragged their heels…
Co-conspirators can read the letter in full below.
SNP Leadership Election
F.A.O. Peter Murrell
Chief Executive Officer Scottish National Party (SNP)
Gordon Lamb House, 3 Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh, EH8 8PJ
Subject: Request for Information on SNP Membership and Voting Process
Dear Mr Murrell,
I am writing this open letter on behalf of all the campaign teams of Ash Regan and Kate Forbes, both of whom are contesting for the leadership of the Scottish National Party (SNP). We request that you provide essential information pertaining to the current membership status and voting procedures within the SNP, which is necessary for ensuring a fair and transparent leadership election.
Specifically, we ask that you disclose the following information to all campaign teams:
We have previously reached out to the National Secretary, Lorna Finn, with a request for this information. However, we have yet to receive a response, which has prompted us to address this matter through a formal open letter.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the SNP, it is your responsibility to ensure that the leadership election process is transparent, fair, and equitable. Providing this information is crucial to fostering trust and confidence among the candidates, their campaign teams, and the party members who are participating in the election.
We kindly request that you respond to this letter and share the requested information as soon as possible. Your cooperation in this matter will not only demonstrate the SNP’s commitment to democratic values and principles but also help maintain a strong and united party during this leadership contest.
We look forward to your prompt response and cooperation in this matter.
Ash Regan MSP