SNP will work to ensure transparency – Humza Yousaf

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the SNP will work to ensure “transparency” in its affairs, after attending his first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting as party leader.

Yousaf said that after the leadership campaign it is clear that the party has “lessons to learn” on some issues, including the issue of membership.

During the leadership race it came to light that the party has lost some 30,000 members in just over a year.

Mishandling of the situation, as the party initially dismissed reports that its membership had dwindled so low, prompted SNP communications chief Murray Foote and longtime chief executive Peter Murrell, who is the husband of former Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will resign.

margaret ferrer
The party also discussed the possibility of a by-election in Margaret Ferrier’s constituency (TV/PA Parliament)

At its meeting in Glasgow on Saturday, the NEC agreed to develop a process for appointing a permanent chief executive, a position currently held by Mike Russell on an interim basis.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Yousaf said: “I was delighted to attend my first NEC meeting as the party’s new leader and to answer questions from those chosen by the party to conduct our affairs.

“While, of course, the leadership election was conducted efficiently and securely by an outside contractor under the supervision of the national secretary, it is clear that the party has lessons to learn on a number of issues, including the question of membership.

“The major governance review established by deputy leader Keith Brown was reported in 2021, and now we must build on his work, draw on expertise within the party, and seek external input to ensure best practice in governance and transparency.

“The SNP has a vibrant internal democracy that encourages debate and provides a large tent for the respectful exchange of differing views.

“We need to reflect that in our internal structures and at the same time make sure we are trusted, not only by all our members, but also by Scotland.”

The NEC also discussed the possibility of a recall petition in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency of Independent MP Margaret Ferrier.

A Commons committee on Thursday recommended that Ms Ferrier, a former SNP MP, be suspended from the House for 30 days for breaching coronavirus rules, after she traveled by train knowing she was infected with Covid-19 in 2020. .

This could trigger a by-election in your seat if enough voters vote for one on a recall petition.

Ferrier was ordered to complete a 270-hour community writ of payment by a sheriff in Glasgow Sheriff’s Court last year, after she admitted culpably and recklessly exposing the public “to the risk of infection, sickness and death” as a result of their behavior.

She was elected SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West in 2019, regaining the seat from Labour, but had the party whip removed in 2020 after the allegations against her surfaced.

Yousaf said this week that he believes there should be a by-election in his constituency.

The NEC discussed the party’s intention to register as an accredited recall campaigner and prepare for a vigorous contest should it take place.


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