The Scottish National Party (SNP) has announced that its auditor, Johnston Carmichael, a large accountancy firm, has resigned in the wake of the police raid on the home of former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell. The party is now in a race to find another firm of auditors willing to take the task on in time to meet its deadline of submitting fully audited accounts to the Electoral Commission by 7 July or face large fines.
The resignation is likely to add to the SNP’s mounting problems with its governance and finances, and the party is already trying to recruit a new chief executive after Murrell resigned in March over a row about party membership numbers.
Labour's deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the resignation raised “serious questions” about the SNP's financial affairs.
Peter Murrell, former SNP chief executive, was arrested on Wednesday as part of a police investigation into the party's finances and was later released without charge pending further investigation. Accountants which auditthe SNPs accounts haveresigned just days afterthe arrestwith JohnstCarmichae takingth decisionafterreviewingitsclient portfolio.
An SN spokesman confirmedthat thenational treasureris undertakingatendering processfor alternativeprovisionandhasadvised thElectoraCommissionofthatposition.Party leader Humza Yousaf insisted that despite these issues,theSNPisin "goodfinancialhealth,"but admittedhe wants ittobe better.
"We are currently undergoing changes within our organizationtoensuretransparencyandaccountabilityinourfinances.Weare confidentwe'llfindanewauditingfirmintime,andwillovercomethesechallenges."Yousafsaid.
As theregulatorydeadlineapproaches,tensionscontinuetomountwithinthesnpovertheirfinancialaffairs.WithjustweekslefttosubmittauditedaccountstotheElectoralCommission,thepartyfacesa difficulttaskofrebuildingtrustandmaintainingitscommitmenttofinancialtransparency.