Humza Yousaf: SNP auditors 'confident' of meeting funding deadline

The First Minister insisted the party can be trusted with people’s money as investigators are looking into how £600,000 was spent.

Humza Yousaf says SNP auditors are ‘confident’ of meeting parliamentary funding deadline Scottish Parliament

Humza Yousaf says auditors are “confident” they will meet the deadline to receive parliamentary funding.

The First Minister made the claim during an interview in which he was also challenged over the ongoing probe into the SNP’s finances.

He insisted the party can be trusted with people’s money as investigators are looking into how £600,000 of funds raised for independence campaigning were spent.

When asked why the party can be trusted, party leader Yousaf said: “I made clear the day that I came in to this position that we will have a governance and transparency review – that’s very much under way.”

During the interview, with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Yousaf also said his party “relies on a grassroots membership” to raise funds, adding: “No doubt our membership will dig deep.”

He said the party would “without a doubt” have the necessary funds for a general election campaign – expected next year.

Yousaf also said the SNP’s auditors are “confident” they will file the accounts of the party’s Westminster group in time to prevent them losing out on £1.2m of parliamentary funding.

It comes after the party struggled for six months to appoint new accountants following the departure of Johnston Carmichael in October – a fact only provided to Yousaf when he became party leader.

The party must meet a deadline at the end of this month to submit accounts to the House of Commons in order to secure the funds.

Yousaf said: “We had a conversation with (the auditors) as a party… and certainly the last conversation we had with the auditors, they were confident in meeting that deadline.”

During the interview, the SNP leader also said he does not believe there would be any reason “out of the ordinary” a delay in a warrant for the search of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s home and the party’s headquarters.

It comes after reports in The Scottish Sun on Monday which revealed the request for a warrant was made to the Crown Office on March 20 but took two weeks to sent to a sheriff.

The search of the home shared by Sturgeon and her husband, former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, was not carried out until April 5.

Addressing the news, Yousaf said: “I don’t believe there will be any particular reason out of the ordinary that it would take that time.”

He added: “I suppose that would be a question for the Crown, not questions for Government or ministers or the First Minister – we would never dream of interfering, neither in a live police investigation, but certainly not in a search warrant.”

He stated that the prosecution service does not make decisions “based on election contests or politics”.

He said: “I think the decision of the Lord Advocate, or in this case the Crown more generally, would be not to make decisions, I don’t think, based on election contests or politics.

“They make decisions based on what is appropriate to the Crown, so really what you’re asking me to do is to make an inference about a process that has nothing to do with me, I have no involvement in it.”

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