AN electoral watchdog has warned the First Minister of five “urgent” deadlines the party must meet to avoid further issues with party finances.

The Daily Record reports that the warning was contained in a letter sent directly to Humza Yousaf by the Electoral Commission – which regulates UK parties’ financial affairs.

Yousaf was told reports must be issued on donations, loans and annual accounts.

The letter, sent by the Electoral Commission’s director of regulation Louise Edwards, called for a meeting to “discuss these matters” and said there is “some urgency”.

The document added that the watchdog is “aware of challenges facing the SNP at the moment” and Edwards added “our concern is that the party has the structures and personnel in place” to comply with party finance laws.

The Daily Record reports that a failure to meet the key deadlines could result in fines of up to £40,000.

The party is currently the subject of a live police investigation with former SNP treasurer Colin Beattie and former chief executive Peter Murrell already having been arrested and released without charge.

When are the deadlines?

According to the Daily Record, the first deadline came on April 30 and was for a loans and donations report which had to be signed by the treasurer or Yousaf.

The second had to be met by May 11, where the party had to provide an independent audit for 75% of a £145,281 policy grant they had received.

Both of these deadlines have already been met.

According to the Commission, the application date for the SNP receiving another grant is at the end of this month.

Yousaf has been told: “Without an application the commission may be unable to pay any grant for the coming year.”

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The First Minister was also reminded the party had to file its national and Westminster accounts by July 7.

The final deadline is July 30 and is for another report on donations and loans.

What have the SNP said?

A spokesperson for the party said: “The first two deadlines have been met. The SNP takes its statutory obligations seriously.

“We are grateful to the Electoral Commission for their help and guidance through this transition period.”

Members of other parties have hit out at the SNP, with LibDem MSP Willie Rennie saying Nicola Sturgeon had left her successor with “a right royal mess to clean up”.

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“Scots want someone in charge who will get on with tackling long NHS waits, sewage flowing into rivers and the cost of living crisis.

“Instead Humza Yousaf’s attention is focused on the SNP’s own finances”, he said.