A leaked video has emerged apparently showing former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon playing down worries about the party's finances.

The footage, published by the Sunday Mail, is of a meeting of the SNP national executive council in March 2021, three months before the police investigation began.

In it Sturgeon warns officials to be “very careful” about suggesting there are “any problems” with the accounts because of the impact it might have on donors.

In the two-minute clip Ms Sturgeon said she had been on the NEC continuously for 20 years, including times when the party had been "frankly teetering on the edge of bankruptcy".

She added: "The party has never been in a stronger financial position than it is right now and that's a reflection of our strength and our membership. So, just a bit of context for us all to remember."

Ms Sturgeon, who appears irritated and to have been recorded without her knowledge, also issued a direct appeal to those attending the virtual meeting.

She added: "Just be very careful about suggestions that there are problems with the party's finances because we depend on donors to donate.

"There are no reasons for people to be concerned about the party's finances and all of us need to be careful about not suggesting that there is."

Former FM will work from home

Ms Sturgeon will be absent from Holyrood when the Scottish Parliament returns from its Easter break tomorrow, and will participate in proceedings remotely.

She had previously insisted she would be an active backbencher until the next Scottish elections, more than three years away, focusing on issues such as climate change and child poverty.

Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman insisted she still planned to remain as an MSP and had “always intended” to stay away from Holyrood this week in order not to distract from Humza Yousaf setting out his priorities.

Party finances are 'in balance'

Meanwhile, The SNP has insisted its finances are "in balance" after another bruising weekend of reports claiming the party is facing a financial crisis.

According to the Sunday Times the party's treasurer told its ruling body it was struggling to balance the books due to an exodus of members and donors.

On Saturday, new leader Mr Yousaf dismissed rumours the SNP faced bankruptcy, saying the party was solvent.

The SNP's National Executive Committee (NEC) met on Saturday morning following a turbulent fortnight which has seen the arrest of former chief executive Peter Murrell and the SNP's offices searched by police.

When Mr Yousaf later faced questions about rumours the party was facing possible bankruptcy, he replied: "It's not. The party is solvent."

However, the Sunday Times reported that the NEC meeting had been told by party treasurer Colin Beattie that it was "having difficulty in balancing the books due to the reduction in membership and donors".

He also warned that a likely Westminster by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West in the coming months could "put the party under pressure", according to the paper.

The SNP said the report was misleading and insisted the party was ready to contest any possible by-election which could be triggered if MP Margaret Ferrier is suspended from the Commons for breaching Covid rules.

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