The race to replace Nicola Sturgeon has hit a chaotic note, as leadership candidates question the ‘integrity’ of the vote.

The SNP was forced to confirm the party’s membership has plummeted by more than 30,000 in the past two years, amid pressure for an audit of the figures.

The numbers were revealed as outgoing leader Ms Sturgeon stressed the party is not “in crisis” as concerns were raised by two leadership candidates over the integrity of the vote to replace her.

The SNP hierarchy has been under pressure in recent days to release the membership figure, with all three candidates in the leadership race backing the move.

The party announced on Thursday that the membership had dropped to 72,186 as of February 15 this year, compared to 103,884 in 2021.

Membership sat at around 125,000 in 2018, meaning more than 50,000 party members have left in five years.

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