Yousaf welcomes appointment of new SNP auditors as deadlines for accounts loom

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SNP leader Humza Yousaf has said there is “hard work ahead”, as he confirmed his party has secured new auditors – more than six months after the previous firm to hold the post quit.

The Scottish First Minister said he was “pleased to confirm” the AMS Accountants Group has taken on the role, and it will complete accounts both for the party and for the SNP group at Westminster.

The party has been without auditors since late 2022 but Mr Yousaf has said he only found out about the situation after he became party leader in March.

The appointment of new auditors comes ahead of key deadlines for the party, with the SNP at Westminster needing to submit accounts by May 31 to ensure it receives £1.2 million of short money – public cash paid to opposition parties to help with their work at the UK Parliament.

The party as a whole needs to submit its accounts to watchdogs at the Electoral Commission by July 7, with failure to do so potentially resulting in a fine.

Police Scotland searched the home shared by former leader Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, ex-SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, while a luxury motorhome was seen to be taken away from another address.

Mr Murrell and then SNP treasurer Colin Beattie have been arrested in connection with the investigation – although both men were released without charge pending further investigation.

Mr Yousaf, who took over an SNP leader shortly before these events, said he was “pleased to confirm that we have secured the services of auditors to take forward our accounts”.

He added: “We take our statutory obligations extremely seriously, so it is welcome news that AMS Accountants Group will complete the accounts for both the party and the SNP Westminster group.

“There is hard work ahead, but it is really encouraging to have them on board as we work towards challenging deadlines.”

Police have searched the home shared by Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell as part of an investigation into SNP finances (Robert Perry/PA)

Mr McDonald said the appointment of new auditors “represents a significant step forward of the party’s stewardship under the leadership of Humza Yousaf”.

He added: “I am pleased to be getting on with the role of national treasurer at this important time for the SNP, and we will continue working hard and standing up for the people of Scotland.”

Stephen Flynn, SNP leader at Westminster, said he is now “confident” the Westminster group will meet the deadline to file its accounts, “as in previous years”.

He added: “Throughout this period, SNP MPs have remained focused on standing up for Scotland and supporting our staff.

“We will now redouble our efforts to hold the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party to account for the damage their policies are inflicting on Scotland.”

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