Transparency concerns at the top of the SNP and allegations of fraud have rocked Scotland’s ruling party, but what is at the heart of the issue?
There have been two high profile resignations in the past few days within the national executive committee (NEC) of the SNP.
In late 2020, a swathe of new additions were elected to the NEC, including Joanna Cherry, the firebrand Edinburgh MP.
The SNP is embroiled in allegations around £600,000 donated to the party has gone missing from its accounts.
On Saturday night, Douglas Chapman, one of the newly elected NEC members, resigned from the position of party treasurer, citing concerns around transparency.
This was backed up by Ms Cherry’s resignation on Monday, with the public explanation being similar transparency and accountability concerns.
These resignations follow similar moves pre-election by three members of the party’s finance committee.
Ms Guthrie later stood as a candidate for the Alba Party in the Holyrood elections. Mr Chapman and Ms Cherry were widely believed to be likely defectors to the new pro-independence party.
The row centres around just under £600,000 of crowdfunded cash donated to the SNP by supporters to help fund the next referendum campaign.
He states the figure available to the SNP was £593,501.
However, many independence activists allege this money has ‘disappeared’ from the SNP accounts, with Police Scotland assessing a complaint made to them about the cash.
No investigation is underway as yet, with both the Electoral Commission and the SNP claiming they have no knowledge of any investigation.
The issue of the ‘missing money’ comes down to a fundamental mistrust between parts of the pro-independence movement and the current SNP leadership.
Many believe the SNP are not serious about independence and would argue, as Mr Salmond does, that Nicola Sturgeon has done nothing to advance the cause since she became leader in 2014.
Transparency is at the heart of the complaints from those in disagreement with the leadership, as well as the hope – almost in desperation – there remains some dirt to be exposed on the First Minister.
Those championing it are those most likely to have a political axe to grind, and Ms Cherry, previously viewed as a potential challenger to Ms Sturgeon, is viewed by moderate SNP sources as having now thrown in the towel.
The more puzzling resignation is that of Marco Biagi. A party moderate, his decision to quit as head of the party’s independence taskforce speaks of a deeper malaise within SNP ranks.