THE Electoral Commission has been urged to investigate claims that “dodgy, dark money... is running rampant” through the Scottish Tories.

The call came from Pete Wishart, who has written to the election watchdog, asking them to probe the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT).

He also called for a full debate about Richard Cook, the chairman of the Constitutional Research Council and a former vice chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland, who facilitated a shadowy £425,000 donation to the DUP.

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Wishart said recent revelations meant “the trail of dodgy, dark money running through certain political parties in the UK can no longer go unaddressed”.

“The UK Government must now bring forward a debate without delay.

“Yesterday, I wrote to the Electoral Commission calling for a full investigation into the Scottish Unionist Association Trust – the murky organisation which has been bankrolling the Tories in Scotland.

“This trust has no official address, no transparency, but it has donated at least £7500 to at least two members from the Scottish Conservatives.

“However, the recent revelation does not even begin to scratch the surface over dodgy donations and how political parties are funded.”

Recently, journalists from The Ferret revealed that the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT), gave £318,876.66 to the Tories between April 9, 2001 and February 28, 2018.

The Ferret found there was no information available about the people who currently manage the organisation, and no public accounts to indicate who its donors are, or what assets it holds.

The Scottish Tories said: “Everything donated from the SUAT to the Scottish Conservatives has been properly declared”.

Meanwhile an investigation by BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme accused Cook of shipping illegal tyre waste to India in 2009, presenting fake documents to the authorities and leaving a shipping company with an unpaid bill of more than £1 million.

Cook, who is based in East Renfrewshire, denies involvement with illegal waste. He is the only known member of the Constitutional Research Council.

The money given to the DUP was then used to buy adverts supporting a Leave vote during the EU referendum.

That included a £280,000 four-page advert in the Metro, a newspaper not available in Northern Ireland.

One of the hangovers of the Troubles is that donations to political parties can be made in secret as fear of reprisal was once a reality.

The BBC’s Spotlight revealed that the Metro advert was booked by Cook himself, and not, as the advert itself said, the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson.

In response to the programme’s findings, Gavin Millar QC, an expert on electoral law, called on the Electoral Commission to investigate further.

“It has to compel answers from those involved, which it has powers to do,” he said.

Millar added: “If necessary it needs to obtain court orders compelling answers from people involved, and disclosure of information.”

The DUP told Spotlight that the party authorised and directed all spending. The party also told the programme it had complied with electoral law at all times.

According to the BBC, Cook was a founding director and shareholder of a company called DDR Recycling in Glasgow which has since gone out of business owing £150,000 in unpaid tax. Cook’s company had apparently signed an $80m contract in 2013 to purchase used railway tracks in Ukraine.

But it transpired the person behind the company in Ukraine was a convicted criminal from Germany.