14 December 2022
By Democrat reporter
BBC Scotland is reporting that Nicola Sturgeon’s husband gave a loan of more than £100,000 to the SNP to help it out with a “cash flow” issue after the last election.
Peter Murrell, the SNP’s chief executive, loaned the party £107,620 in June 2021.
The SNP had repaid about half of the money by October of that year.
An SNP spokesman said the loan was a “personal contribution made by the chief executive to assist with cash flow after the Holyrood election”.
He said it had been reported in the party’s 2021 accounts, which were published by the Electoral Commission in August.
The spokesman added: “The nature of this transaction was initially not thought to give rise to a reporting obligation.
“However, as it had been recorded in the party’s 2021 accounts as a loan, it was accordingly then reported to the Electoral Commission as a regulated transaction.”
Electoral Commission records of the loan say that no interest was being charged by Mr Murrell, and that a total of £47,620 was repaid in two instalments in August and October of last year.
The loan was first reported by the Wings Over Scotland website.
Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy, right, said it was “beyond odd for the SNP chief executive – and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband – to be lending his employer a six-figure sum of money”.
Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby claimed that the SNP operated “under a veil of secrecy” and called for greater transparency “about the dealings going on in the party of government”.
The SNP spent nearly £1.5 million in its campaign for the Holyrood election, which was held in May last year.
Its annual accounts showed that its total income was £4. 5 millionm in 2021, of which, it said, 85% came from voluntary contributions by supporters and members. Some £740,000 was raised through “independence related appeals”, the accounts stated.
However, the party has spent a total of £5,259,805, meaning it made a loss of about £750,000 over the year. It had about £145,000 in cash at the end of the year, and reserves of £610,000.
SNP MP Douglas Chapman quit as the party’s treasurer shortly after the election, claiming that he was not given enough information about its finances to do his job. Three other members of the SNP’s finance committee also resigned.
Mr Chapman’s decision to stand down was understood to be linked to a row about the use of £600,000 which was raised by activists who were told it would be ring-fenced for a second independence referendum.
Police Scotland recently confirmed that its investigation into what happened to the money was ongoing. The party has denied any wrongdoing.