Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

SNP insiders warn Humza Yousaf must drastically overhaul party to increase transparency

Mr Yousaf has promised an inquiry into what must be fixed as his party hunts for a new chief executive to replace Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell.

Humza Yousaf was warned he needs to overhaul the SNP. Image: PA.

SNP insiders are asking major questions over how their party has been run at the very top after a disastrous few weeks.

Peter Murrell’s arrest and escalating concerns over finances have left Humza Yousaf’s nationalists reeling since he took power.

It emerged the SNP’s auditors quit six months ago, police continue to probe the spending of £600,000, and a motorhome owned by the party was seized from Mr Murrell’s mother’s home.

And a leaked video from 2021 showed Nicola Sturgeon brushing off worries about the party’s finances.

Demands for a review into governance and transparency within the SNP were a key talking point when their ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), met at the weekend.

Former SNP chief Peter Murrell was arrested. Image: PA.

Mr Yousaf has promised an inquiry into what must be fixed as his party hunts for a new chief executive to replace Mr Murrell.

But some internal sources are dismayed and fear a drastic overhaul is needed.

‘Change overdue’

For those already demanding more transparency, the chaos engulfing the SNP has not been a shock.

Former cabinet minister Alex Neil, who stepped down from Holyrood in 2021, has grown critical of his own party.

He told us: “Many of us have seen these problems coming for years. We didn’t anticipate it being as bad as it turned out to be. Now it’s wide open.”

Former SNP minister Alex Neil. Image: Shutterstock.

Mr Neil added: “We need to get rid of the cronyism and make sure things are run democratically.

“We also need a review of the structure of the party, and get back to the days when the leadership was accountable to the membership.”

Falkirk MSP Michelle Thomson, who backed Ms Forbes to become leader, said: “Good governance is fundamental to any organisation.

“Change within the SNP has been overdue for a long time – I will be watching with interest to see what substantive changes are made.”

Falkirk SNP MSP Michelle Thomson.

For Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, the solution is quite simple: the party just needs to be honest.

He said: “It’s not a big state secret. Just tell people what the membership is. Tell people about auditors.”

SNP veteran Tricia Marwick hit out at members who shared the video of Ms Sturgeon addressing concerns around finances.

She criticised people who feel “more important than the SNP” and told party supporters to “get a grip” if they reckon their individual views are important.

Who will replace Peter Murrell?

Prior to his arrest Mr Murrell stepped down from his role as chief executive following a row over the party’s membership numbers.

His departure left a huge void at the top of the SNP. Whoever takes over will play a key role in trying to heal the party.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil reckons Mr Murrell’s successor must be someone who is completely untainted by ongoing controversies.

“It’s got to be external. It can’t be anybody who’s been there during what I would call the debacle years,” he told us.

Mr Neil said: “It should be a fresh face. We need someone who’s strong enough to stand up to pressure.”

Will this hurt the SNP?

Mr Yousaf’s party has been slumping in the polls and there are signs Labour could be mounting a recovery in Scotland.

Geoff Aberdein, who was chief of staff to ex-First Minister Alex Salmond, told the Holyrood Sources podcast this could be a “seminal moment”.

Geoff Aberdein, Alex Salmond’s former chief of staff. Image: DC Thomson.

He said: “I’m pretty flabbergasted and bemused.

“Perception is everything in politics, and the perception is ‘you guys have been at it’. That needs to be addressed as a priority.”

Is Humza Yousaf the man to fix this?

Mr Yousaf has been left with an enormous job on his hands just weeks after he narrowly defeated Ms Forbes.

Some SNP insiders are privately doubtful he has what it takes to overhaul his party given he was the continuity candidate to Ms Sturgeon.

Mr Yousaf admitted he had no knowledge the SNP owned the motorhome seized by police, and he was unaware the party’s auditors had quit until he became leader.

A leading figure from the SNP’s trade union has threatened to resign if the party does not now appoint forensic auditors.

Mr Yousaf told Sky News: “I think people have got a very reasonable question to ask around transparency. That’s why I’ve committed to a review.”

Mr Neil reckons the new first minister needs to show he is serious by improving how his party is governed within the next six months.

He said: “If I was Humza I would be trying to get all the internal stuff sorted by the time we get to our conference for October.”

However, Mr Yousaf was strongly backed by many local councillors in his bid to succeed Ms Sturgeon. Plenty of them are confident he can do what is needed.

Moray SNP Councillor Jérémie Fernandes

Moray Councillor Jérémie Fernandes said: “There is a need for a bit of change. I think some of the criticism has been a bit overblown.

“I think Humza Yousaf is keen to communicate with members and make sure members know what’s happening.”

Aberdeen Councillor Michael Hutchison said: “Folk have voiced concerns about transparency, and if folk are doing that then there’s work to do.

But he added: “I voted for Humza. I wouldn’t have done so if I didn’t think he was the right person to make whatever improvements are necessary.”

Mr Aberdein told Holyrood Sources: “There is a window of opportunity here to try and solve all this, but it is getting smaller all the time.”

All eyes will be on the new first minister to see if he can seize that opportunity.