Murray Foote has been revealed as the new chief executive of the SNP months after quitting as the party’s media chief amid a row over membership numbers.
The former Daily Record editor stood down from his role in March after it was falsely claimed the party had around 100,000 members during the leadership contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon.
Foote replaces the former First Minister’s husband, Peter Murrell, in the position following his resignation during the dispute.
He had described reports that membership had dropped as “drivel,” stating number quoted in the Sunday Mail was “not just flat wrong, it’s wrong by about 30,000”.
It was later revealed its membership as of February 15 of this year was 72,186 – having fallen from 103,884 in 2021.
The SNP said Foote, who takes up the appointment on Monday, will help advance the cause of independence while making the party more transparent.
He said: “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.”
Humza Yousaf welcomed the announcement, saying: “Murray will bring a great wealth of experience and talent to the role of Chief Exec of @theSNP.
“I’m delighted to have him on board as we look to strengthen @theSNP HQ, empower our incredible activists across Scotland and build a winning campaign for independence.”
The SNP’s Kirsten Oswald said Foote won the role after a “rigorous, open recruitment process”.
The 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.”
Foote became editor of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in 2014 and was responsible for “The Vow” front page – written by the Better Together campaign – which was seen as being highly influential in the outcome of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
More recently, he described the search of Sturgeon’s home during the investigation into party finances as a “grotesque spectacle”.
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie commented: “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.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “So much for change. The discredited SNP are merely reshuffling the same people into different posts.
“Nicola Sturgeon and her husband may be in the background but their top team are still running the show in the party under Humza Yousaf.”