THE SNP have received more than £1 million from a dozen supporters leaving donations in their wills over the past two years, it has emerged.

According to official accounts, the party raised £420,000 from bequests in 2020 alone – which is over three times higher than the £132,000 reported by UK Labour.

The figures, reported by the Press and Journal, show that since 2000 there have been 70 bequests from supporters worth £4.6m.

Almost half the donations have been received since the 2014 referendum, while just under a third of donations have come since 2019.

READ MORE: SNP accounts published by Electoral Commission show party finances

The largest bequest in the past two decades came from Scotland’s first national poet Edwin Morgan, who left just over £1.1m to the party following his death in 2010.

The only other party which regularly raises more from wills is the UK Conservative Party, with £1.4m donated in 2020.

Samuel Power, an expert in political financing at the University of Sussex, said the number of bequests could be due to the SNP gaining “steam and a lot of popularity” because of the independence referendum of 2014.

"And because it's a nationalist party, if you will, the Scottish National Party, perhaps there is a particular appeal to bequeathing money ... because it feels like a cause for nationalists,” he said.

"Or it could be that this is a defined fundraising strategy. We know that political parties across the UK, but also elsewhere, they have strategies that they follow that they know are quite fruitful."

Professor Robert Johns, co-authored of the book Takeover: Explaining The Extraordinary Rise Of The SNP, pointed to the surge in membership which took place after the referendum.

He added: "In a sense donating via bequests is another form of political participation in a way, like joining a party."

Recent bequests include from Dr Norman Allan, who gave the party £250,000 following his death in 2019 at the age of 96.

READ MORE: UK Labour Party haemorrhaging funds and members, accounts reveal

He was one of the first SNP candidates to win a seat for his party in the north-east, representing Banff and Portsoy on Grampian Regional Council for 10 years.

Other donations included from William Ritchie, who bequeathed £91,996 and two from Edward Montgomery totalling more than £45,000.

Morven Polson, from Edinburgh, left the party £370,000 last year and South-African born Estelle Brownrig gifted £120,000 in 2019.

An SNP spokesman said: "The SNP is immensely grateful for every legacy, large or small.

"We rely on the kindness and generosity of our members and supporters for income."