SNP in ‘tremendous mess’ leadership contest, says Mike Russell

SNP President Mike Russell, back in charge.

BBC Scotland is reporting that there is “tremendous mess” in the SNP over the party’s leadership race, the new interim chief executive has said.

SNP President Mike Russell, who stepped in to replace outgoing Peter Murrell, said the voting process must go ahead regardless.

Mr Murrell resigned on Saturday after taking responsibility for misleading the media on party membership numbers.

All three candidates vying for the leadership of the SNP have pledged to reform its operations.

Mr Murrell, who is married to outgoing party leader Nicola Sturgeon, resigned with immediate effect on Saturday, saying he had become a distraction to the leadership race.

He had been set to face a vote of no confidence by the National Executive Committee (NEC) had he not stepped down, the BBC has been told.

His resignation came a day after that of Murray Foote, the SNP’s head of media at Holyrood. He had previously described press reports about the membership numbers as “inaccurate” and “drivel”.

However, an NEC source told the BBC Mr Foote had been “thrown under the bus” by Mr Murrell.

The party this week confirmed there had been a big drop in membership numbers.

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