THE SNP’s most senior MP has called for the “broadest possible inquiry” after the party’s chief of communications quit suggesting that he had been fed inaccurate information by HQ.

Murray Foote, the former Daily Record editor turned SNP spindoctor, resigned his position with the party on Friday evening after a row about party membership numbers.

He wrote: “Acting in good faith and as a courtesy to colleagues at party HQ, I issued agreed party responses to media enquiries regarding membership. It has subsequently become apparent there are serious issues with these responses.

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"Consequently, I concluded this created a serious impediment to my role and I resigned my position with the SNP Group at Holyrood."

Foote had called reports that 30,000 people had left the SNP “drivel”. But figures published on Thursday showed the party had some 72,000 members, a fall of some 31,000 since December 2021.

The now former spindoctor’s resignation sparked questions about who may have given him inaccurate information to relay to the press.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP, said there needed to be an inquiry into the matter.

Wishart wrote: “You don’t get more ‘loyal’ than me but when this leadership contest is concluded we need the broadest possible inquiry into some of the issues around the mess that has been so unnecessarily self-inflicted.”

SNP MP Angus MacNeil told The National he supported the calls for an inquiry.

He also wrote on Twitter: “Question is who gave Murray Foote the erroneous figures for wider communication?”

And Joanna Cherry MP said: "An honourable decision but it’s the source of the lies who should be resigning. Time to stop attacking the women questioning the good faith of those in charge at @theSNP HQ. What better evidence could there be that they are not to be trusted?"

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan wrote: "Someone, somewhere in the SNP hierarchy has been lying: to the press, the membership, and their colleagues. Heads are going to have to roll."

An SNP spokesperson said: "We are disappointed and saddened that Murray felt the need to take this decision.

“He has been a great colleague over the past few years, and we wish him well for whatever he decides to do next."

The spokesperson later added: "Murray has been an outstanding head of press for the Holyrood Group and we thank him for his service. He has acted entirely in good faith throughout.

"The party was asked a specific question about loss of members as a direct result of the [Gender Reform Recognition] Bill and indyref2. The answer given was intended to make clear that these two reasons had not been the cause of significant numbers of members leaving.

"The membership figure is normally produced annually and is not produced in response to individual media queries, including in this instance.

"In retrospect, however, we should not have relied on an understanding of people's reasons for leaving as the basis of the information given to Murray and, thereafter, the media.

"A new, modernised membership system is currently being developed for the party."

The Scottish Conservatives claimed the issue was with a “rotten SNP leadership who deliberately lied to the press and public”.

Tory MSP Russell Findlay said: “Murray Foote was giving out information he had been told, which was false. He didn’t lie. The SNP lied.”

“We wish our best to Mr Foote, who was clearly told false information and is the fall guy for the SNP hierarchy.”

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton claimed Foote’s resignation suggested SNP bosses had been lying “the whole time”

He added: “Respect where it’s due – Murray doing the right thing here. Can we believe anything this governing party says anymore?”