SNP investigated by Holyrood over campaign spending

The Scottish Parliament confirmed that the claims would be investigated.

SNP investigated by Holyrood over campaign spending on stamps Getty Images

The SNP are being investigated by the Scottish Parliament over claims taxpayer cash was used to purchase postage stamps to help candidates with general election campaigning.

The Scottish Parliament rules state that MSPs are allowed to spend up to £5,500 a year on postage and stationery as part of parliamentary resources, which are provided by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

But they “must be used only for parliamentary duties and must not be used for any other purpose, including party political purposes”.

While political parties and candidates do mail voters during elections, they pay for the material and postage themselves.

Leaked WhatsApp messages from an SNP group chat titled ‘Office Manager Chat’, seen by STV, show exchanges between staff members within the party discussing the use of postage stamps.

One staff member wrote: “Guys, the new stamps. Can they be traced?”

Another responded: “Like who purchased them and what they’re being used for?”

A third added: “I asked [non-SNP parliamentary worker] in the mailroom and he said no.”

The original messenger wrote: “Can they be traced back to who purchased them?”

A fourth staff member said: “Not aware that they can.”

Another staffer said: “If they can then a few people may be up in front of the corporate body.”

The corporate body is the Scottish Parliament’s governing board.

In an email, also seen by STV, which was sent to Holyrood’s presiding officer Alison Johnstone, the anonymous complainer said: “I am anonymously sharing a screenshot from the SNP office managers WhatsApp group chat due to my concerns that several MSPs are using stamps paid for by Scottish parliament expenses to pass to UK parliament election candidates for campaign activities such as sending target letters to hard to reach addresses.

“I’m concerned about this open discussion involving several members’ offices.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said: “We take the use of publicly funded resources very seriously. Officials are investigating the matter to establish whether there has been any mis-use of parliamentary resources.”

A spokesperson for the SNP Holyrood Group said: “The Parliamentary rules are crystal clear that materials, including stamps, can only be used for Parliamentary purposes such as representing constituents and campaigning on their behalf.

“These exchanges, whilst obviously light-hearted, are being investigated as is appropriate and we would expect the offices of MSPs of all parties to cooperate with the Parliamentary Corporate Body.”

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