Running dry! SNP not received a single large donation from a living person in Q1 – crisis
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In terms of donations over £7,500 in value, the party received just one – which was from a generous benefactor who sadly passed away this year. Morven Polson left £300,000 to the party, accounts published by the Electoral Commission have revealed.
Otherwise, the party did not receive another large donation.
The Commission’s data, uploaded yesterday, indicated the party received a total of just over £570,000.
This figure comprises £270,983 in so-called ‘short money’, covering payment from the House of Commons to opposition parties to help with running costs.
Additionally, the party received £300,000 from Mr Polson on February 15 as part of a bequest.
An obituary published by the Edinburgh Evening News on April 16, 2020 stated that Mr Polson died “suddenly, at Cairdean House Nursing Home, on Monday, April 13, 2020.”
It adds: “Funeral service private due to current health events.”
However it once again focuses attention on the party’s finances days after the resignation of SNP MP Joanna Cherry from the National Executive Committee (NEC), and Douglas Chapman resigned as the SNP’s national treasurer.
Edinburgh South West MP Ms Cherry explained her decision in a statement on Twitter, blaming issues over “transparency and scrutiny” in the party.
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In the tweet, Ms Cherry said: “A number of factors have prevented me from fulfilling the mandate party members gave me to improve transparency & scrutiny & to uphold the party’s constitution.
“I won’t be making any further comment at this stage.”
Meanwhile, Mr Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said he was not given enough information to do the job.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney was forced to deny that Police Scotland was investigating “£600,000 of SNP funds that was raised by activists and campaigners and perhaps diverted elsewhere?”, telling the BBC: “Not to my knowledge, no.”
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He told BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show: “I don’t understand quite what’s prompted this.
“The National Executive Committee has responsibility for scrutinising the party’s finances and in addition to that, the accounts of the party are independently audited by external auditors and are submitted to the Electoral Commission for scrutiny.
“So there’s a huge amount of scrutiny of party finances that goes on.”
Mr Chapman took over the role last year, while Ms Cherry only recently returned to politics after taking a break for health reasons.
It remains unclear what led to Mr Chapman’s decision, but SNP business convener and fellow MP Kirsten Oswald said she “fundamentally disagrees” with Mr Chapman’s assessment.
Speaking yesterday, First Minister Mrs Sturgeon insisted she was “not concerned” about the SNP’s finances despite the resignations.
In an interview with STV News, she also rejected allegations that £600,000 of funds raised by activists has “gone missing”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I’m not concerned about the party’s finances.
“The finances of the SNP are independently audited, our accounts are sent to the Electoral Commission in common with other parties and of course published so there’s full scrutiny around that.
“Money hasn’t gone missing. All money goes through the SNP accounts independently and fully audited.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “We don’t hold separate accounts, we’re under no legal requirement to do that, our accounts are managed on a cash-flow basis.
“But every penny we raise to support the campaign for independence will be spent on the campaign for independence.”
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