The SNP is the most transparent party in Scotland, claims its depute leader Keith Brown.

The former minister made the remark yesterday as he defended his party's record amid internal turmoil and a police investigation into finances.

He also said the SNP membership has increase by more than 700 since last month.

But Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said Mr Brown was "living in a parallel universe".

Last month Peter Murrell resigned as the SNP's chief executive after taking responsibility for misleading the media about party membership numbers.

Treasurer Colin Beattie also stepped down. Both had been arrested and released without charge as part of the Police Scotland probe.

Officers 'searching for SIM cards'

There were reports yesterday that officers are searching for SIM cards linked to pay-as-you-go phones as part of the case.

Police are also investigating the purchase of jewellery, a fridge-freezer, "luxury" pens and designer pots and pans, according to the reports.

Mr Brown has pointed to how the SNP's new leader Humza Yousaf had ordered a governance and transparency review.

"So action has been taken to make sure that we meet these internal challenges," he told the BBC.

"And in the meantime, we are one of the most transparent parties in the UK. You will have a very good idea of what the SNP membership is."

He continued: "We are a more transparent, more successful party than any other party in Scotland. We have to increase that transparency.

'Set the standard'

"It is my ambition and I know that it is Humza's to make sure we are the most-transparent party in Scotland and that we set the standard for transparency and shame the other parties."

Mr Brown said SNP membership had risen over the past two to three months, based on reports from SNP branches on social media.

"We've seen upticks in membership across the country. We've seen upticks in terms of donations."

The former minister added: "And I would also just balance that by saying yes, we have lost members as well, but the balance is showing an increase in membership."

In March the SNP confirmed their membership figure had fallen to 72,000 - a loss of 32,000 in two years.

Later on Sunday Mr Brown told the BBC that the figure had increased by 738 since March 24, three days before Mr Yousaf was named as leader.

Treasurer appointed

On Saturday, the SNP appointed MP Stuart McDonald as treasurer until the party's next annual conference.

Mr Hoy of the Tories claimed the SNP "is addicted to secrecy".

He said yesterday: "It was bizarre to hear Keith Brown saying the SNP is one of the most transparent political parties in the UK.

"I mean he's living in a parallel universe there."

  • Support for the SNP has slumped to its lowest level since the independence referendum, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey found that the SNP's constituency vote for Holyrood has dropped five points since March to 38% - the joint-lowest since the 2014 referendum and down from 50% in December.

Jump in support for Labour

The Telegraph adds that support for Labour has surged to 30%, the highest level since the independence vote.

The Tories were on 16% and Liberal Democrats on 10%.

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