THE SNP’s finances are in “robust health” according to a former leader of the party at Westminster.

It follows a report in The Sunday Times which claimed treasurer Colin Beattie told the party’s National Executive Committee on Saturday that a reduction in membership numbers and donations had resulted in difficulty “balancing the books”.

However, during an interview on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday, Blackford insisted the party was solvent.

“It’s a highly selective report that we’ve seen this morning in the papers,” he said. “Absolutely, categorically, the SNP is solvent, the finances are in balance.

“We will be able to meet our obligations, our liabilities going forward.

“Everybody knows that there’s been in a dip in SNP membership. I would like to think that we can grow the membership over the course of the coming period.

“But when all is said and done, we’ve still got over 70,000 members, members who are paying subscriptions.

“There’s donations coming in, parliamentarians making contributions.

“As would be normal, we will be looking at ways we can raise additional funds as well.

“But the party will be ready to meet all its liabilities and we will certainly be ready to meet the challenge, if it comes, of a by-election in Rutherglen.”

He added that financially the party was in “robust health in terms of meeting its obligations”.

The First Minister Humza Yousaf was campaigning in Rutherglen on Saturday on what the party termed its first “nationwide Day of Action” this year.

It comes ahead of a potential by-election in the area, with MP Margaret Ferrier – who was formerly a member of the SNP and now sits as an independent – facing a possible 30-day suspension from the House of Commons after breaching Covid laws in 2020.

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If MPs vote to pass the suspension, then a recall petition will be triggered. If 10% of Ferrier’s constituents sign the petition then a by-election would occur.

It comes as the SNP NEC agreed to a review into governance and transparency within the party.

Blackford also told the programme he could not “tell you exactly when” he heard that the party’s auditors had quit.

But opposition MSP Jackie Baillie alleged that Blackford would have known in his capacity as Westminster leader at the time. 

She said: “That Blackford claims to not remember when he was told that the auditors had quit is mind-boggling.

“All the evidence shows that they resigned while he was leader of the SNP Westminster group.”

Humza Yousaf said he only heard that auditors Johnson Carmichael had withdrawn after becoming First Minister.

The party is now seeking to appoint new auditors as a priority ahead of a key Electoral Commission deadline in July.