Former SNP spin doctor who resigned in disgrace appointed as Peter Murrell’s replacement as party chief executive. Murray Foote resigned as head of media for the nationalists earlier this year after handing out doctored membership figures, but has now been appointed to a key role in the party

Murray Foote, poacher turned gamekeeper, First Minister Humza Yousaf  and Dame Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of Labour in Scotland.

By Lucy Ashton

The Scottish Daily Express is reporting that the SNP’s former head spin doctor who sensationally quit over the party lying about membership figures has been appointed as the party’s new chief executive. Murray Foote, who is a former editor of the Daily Record, was confirmed in the role on Wednesday.

He formerly served as head of communications for the nationalists at Holyrood but resigned after being caught out briefing against journalists about a huge fall in SNP members. He claimed that he had acted in “good faith” when asked by the media about a 30,000 drop in signed up members.

The Sunday Mail reported in February that up to 30,00 people had cancelled their membership, but Mr Foote called it “drivel” in a later tweet. However, just months later the party admitted that the figure was 72,186, down 31,698 at the end of 2021.

Mr Foote has been appointed despite Humza Yousaf claiming that they would be bringing in an “external candidate” to help with huge transparency issues from Peter Murrell’s time in charge. The SNP claimed that there was “significant interest from a range of high-quality candidates.”

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SNP Business Convener, Kirsten Oswald MP, said: “Murray was an exceptional candidate in a strong field. His managerial experience and skills will enable him to hit the ground running in delivering for SNP members, including leading changes in governance and transparency in party headquarters.”

Mr Foote added: “I am delighted to take up this important role and look forward to helping build the campaign for independence, both by strengthening the SNP’s headquarter functions and supporting the party’s formidable organisation across Scotland.” He will take up his appointment on Monday.

The former journalist was editor-in-chief of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail between February 2014 to March 2018 and was the architect of the famous The Vow front page during the independence referendum in 2014. This was a promise for more devolution from a rare team-up between Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Some experts believe that this made a huge impact in terms of the result of the vote to break up the UK, which ended in victory for the Better Together side by 55 to 45 ahead of the Yes movement. Mr Foote then became Head of Communication and Research for the SNP Group at Holyrood from February 2020 to March 2023.

Commenting on the news that Murray Foote has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the SNP, Dumbarton MSP and Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Presented with the chance of a fresh start for the SNP after years of secrecy, Humza Yousaf has instead appointed Murray Foote as the successor to the beleaguered Peter Murrell.

“This is just the latest continuity candidate to be brought back by Humza Yousaf who is desperately trying to get the band back together ahead of what could be their farewell tour.
“It is clearer than ever that only Scottish Labour will give Scotland the fresh start it needs.”

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