THE shadowy Scottish Unionist Association Trust has been forced to step begrudgingly into the limelight and reveal some of the details about who manages it and where it gets its money.

Pressure had been growing on the secretive organisation, after an investigation by the Ferret website revealed that they had donated £318,876.66 to the Tories between April 9, 2001, and February 28 this year.

EXPLAINED: What is the Scottish Tory 'dark money' scandal?

Because the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) is not registered with Companies House, the Financial Conduct Authority, or OSCR – Scotland’s charity watchdog – there was no public information available about the people who currently manage the organisation, and no public accounts to indicate donors, or assets.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford left Theresa May squirming when he brought it up the trust in the House of Commons yesterday.

Blackford was almost drowned out by braying Tory MPs as he accused the party of buying democracy.

He said the Tories were “systematically shielding their donations from public scrutiny.”

READ MORE: Leave campaign ‘cheated’ to win the EU referendum

Blackford said: “Jackson Carlaw, MSP for Eastwood; the honourable member for Banff and Buchan [David Duigid]; and the honourable member for Moray [Douglas Ross], have all accepted donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust.

“The trust has donated £319,000 to the Scottish Conservatives, yet there is no information available about who the people are who currently manage the trust, no public accounts to indicate who its donors are or what assets it holds.”

Blackford also referred to Richard Cook, of the Constitutional Research Council, saying: “The BBC has revealed that the former vice-chairman of the Conservatives in Scotland was behind the DUP’s £435,000 donation during the EU referendum, and has a trail of involvement in illegal activities and foreign money.”

The Tory heckling of Blackford intensified, forcing Speaker John Bercow to appeal for calm.

READ MORE: Blackford says Scotland’s ‘independence day is coming' amid heated clash with Mundell

The SNP chief continued by asking May: “What checks the Conservative Party have in place before accepting such large donations? And will she investigate links between the Conservatives and the trust, and promise to publish details of all donations and donors?”

May replied: “All donations to the Scottish Conservatives are accepted and declared within the law.

“The Scottish Conservatives work with the Electoral Commission to make sure that it is all done properly.”

About an hour after Prime Minister’s Questions, the SUAT released a statement through the PR company of trustee Peter Duncan, a former Tory MP. It revealed that the trust was formed in 1968 from “assets of the (then) Scottish Unionist Association, primarily sales of property assets.”

SUAT added that those assets had been invested and the proceeds were now “available to further the aims of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. It insisted: “All UK taxation liabilities have been and continue to be met in full.”

The chairman of the SUAT is Robert Miller-Bakewell, who is also the chairman of the Scottish Borders Conservative and Unionist Association. He is an investment analyst and racecourse director, a former consultant at Merrill Lynch, the Bank of America’s wealth management division. He was formerly a member of the Tory executive in 2000, but left in a furious row over infighting.

Another trustee, Kim Donald, was also on the executive at the same time, also leaving because of the civil war engulfing the party.

The other trustees are Patricia McPhee, Sheila Fulton, John and Duncan, and Frank Spencer-Nairn.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We are in dialogue with the Electoral Commission and it would be inappropriate to say more whilst that dialogue continues.”