Scottish Labour condemns a ‘festering culture of secrecy’ in the SNP after the latest financial revelation
Who’s a cheeky boy then? Angus Robertson (left) led the SNP in the House of Commons for a decade until 2017 and is now the Scottish Government’s constitution secretary.
The veteran politician received the bumper pay rise after the SNP’s 2015 landslide general election victory in Scotland, when it won 56 out of 59 seats and became the UK’s third-largest party.
Robertson led the party in the House of Commons for a decade until 2017 and is now the Scottish Government’s constitution secretary.
Scottish Labour condemned a “festering culture of secrecy” after it was revealed the £33,000 salary boost was not made public.
It is the latest financial revelation to cause controversy as the SNP faces a Police Scotland probe into its funding that has seen detectives arrest former chief executive and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell and then national treasurer Colin Beattie.
Both men were questioned for nearly 12 hours before being released without charge pending further investigation.
At Westminster, the leader of the opposition, who stands opposite the Prime Minister during PMQs, normally receives a top-up to their MP salary equivalent to that given to a Government cabinet secretary.
According to the Times, SNP bosses at Westminster decided to use the same model to increase Robertson’s wage.
SNP grandee Angus Robertson, Jackie Baillie and Sir Keith Starmer.
At a meeting at which Robertson was reportedly not present, his salary was boosted by £33,207 – the same as that of a junior minister at the time.
However, senior party figures in Scotland were not informed, according to the Times.
Robertson’s salary boost was funded by short money which is taxpayer cash awarded to opposition parties for their work in the House of Commons based on the number of seats and votes they won.
Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “The SNP must urgently come clean and explain why this publicly-funded top-up was kept hidden for so long.
“If they are ever to regain the nation’s trust, the SNP must kick their addiction to secrecy once and for all, and finally commit to full and open transparency with the Scottish public.”
Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Jackie Baillie, has urged the SNP to explain why the salary top-up was never registered.
“There must be urgent clarification about why this payment was never registered and why senior figures in the SNP went to such extreme lengths to keep it a secret not just from the public but from other figures in their party.”
On Saturday, the SNP appointed MP Stuart McDonald as the party’s new treasurer after the arrest and resignation of the previous officer bearer Beattie.
McDonald said it was a “difficult and challenging time” amid the ongoing police investigation into how more than £600,000 of party donations earmarked for independence campaigning was spent.
The SNP were mocked after their deputy leader declared they are Scotland’s ‘most transparent party’ despite the police probe into their finances.
Keith Brown made the claim even as he acknowledged ‘internal challenges’ amid the continuing investigation into how more than £600,000 of donations were spent.
Keith Brown declared the SNP are Scotland’s ‘most transparent party’ despite the police probe into their finances.
Mr Brown admitted he didn’t know until recently that the party’s auditors Johnston and Carmichael had resigned.
First Minister Humza Yousaf only learned of the revelation after he replaced Nicola Sturgeon in the top job last month – despite the auditors stepping aside around October.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Brown said he only became aware ‘shortly’ after the news became public.
But he said it was standard practice that Mr Yousaf would not have known prior to taking the party’s top role as he was not on the SNP’s national executive committee where these issues were discussed.
The SNP are searching for new accountants in time for the submission of audits to the Electoral Commission in July.
In an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show this morning, Mr Brown refused to comment on the ongoing financial debacle.
An SNP spokesperson said: “Employment issues relating to the Westminster SNP leader, chief whip and group staff are a matter decided by the group executive.
“Senior leadership remuneration followed the SNP becoming the third party at Westminster and was pegged below comparative UK Government and opposition positions.”