SNP urged to reveal membership numbers by leadership candidates

SNP chief told membership information would 'ensure a fair and transparent leadership election'.

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan call on SNP chief Peter Murrell to release party membership numbers STV News

All three candidates in the running to replace Nicola Sturgeon have urged the SNP to release the number of members still in the party.

Ash Regan and Kate Forbes have penned an open letter to the party’s CEO urging him to reveal the membership of the party “as soon as possible”.

The letter, addressed to Peter Murrell, says the information is necessary to “ensure a fair and transparent leadership election”.

The two candidates say they previously reached out to the party’s national secretary, Lorna Finn, to request the information but have not heard back.

In the letter, Regan and Forbes call on Murrell, who is Sturgeon’s husband, to release the total number of paid-up members currently within the SNP, the number of digital voting papers that have been sent out to members and the number of physical postal voting papers that have been issued.

The call follows reports in February that the number of members in the SNP had dropped.

The party previously rejected claims that some 30,000 people had quit the group after the Scottish Government passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

An SNP spokesperson said fewer than 300 members had quit, adding that a similar number had joined the party to make up for the loss.

At the time, the party did not release the full number of the membership.

The open letter says releasing the information would ensure transparency in the election process.

It reads: “As the chief executive officer of the SNP, it is your responsibility to ensure that the leadership election process is transparent, fair, and equitable.

“Providing this information is crucial to fostering trust and confidence among the candidates, their campaign teams, and the party members who are participating in the election.”

It adds: “Your cooperation in this matter will not only demonstrate the SNP’s commitment to democratic values and principles but also help maintain a strong and united party during this leadership contest.”

Humza Yousaf, who is also in the running to be Scotland’s next First Minister, did not sign the letter but later confirmed he had asked the party to hand over the information.

His campaign manager Neil Gray said: “Yesterday, Humza’s campaign team also asked for the figures to be published and sought assurances this would be done as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for Forbes said: “It is standard practice for any election to be made aware of voting numbers in advance. This should be no different.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “Candidates have already been made aware that responsibility for the leadership election does not rest with any member of staff.”

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