ASH Regan has written to SNP chief executive Peter Murrell asking him to release key information about the party’s membership and the leadership ballot.

Regan, in a letter which was sent with the backing of Kate Forbes’s campaign team, said that the information was “necessary for ensuring a fair and transparent leadership election”.

The two campaigns asked Murrell to detail:

  • The total number of paid-up members currently within the SNP.
  • The number of digital voting papers that have been sent out to members.
  • The number of physical postal voting papers that have been issued.

Regan wrote: “As the chief executive officer of the SNP, it is your responsibility to ensure that the leadership election process is transparent, fair, and equitable. Providing this information is crucial to fostering trust and confidence among the candidates, their campaign teams, and the party members who are participating in the election.

“We kindly request that you respond to this letter and share the requested information as soon as possible. Your cooperation in this matter will not only demonstrate the SNP's commitment to democratic values and principles but also help maintain a strong and united party during this leadership contest.”

Regan's campaign team has issued an ultimatum to the SNP leadership, saying they will hold a press conference outside Holyrood at 3pm on Thursday if a "satisfactory response addressing our legitimate request" has not been received by then.

Michelle Thomson, Forbes’s campaign manager, said: “We have been notified of the letter and the request and are happy to lend our support to that request."

Humza Yousaf's campaign has also urged the SNP chief to release the figures. 

Neil Gray, who is running Yousaf's campaign, said: "Yesterday, Humza's campaign team also asked for the figures to be published and sought assurances this would be done as soon as possible." 

The letter comes with the SNP facing growing pressure to release its membership figures, including from former Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

The MP said over the weekend: “It is important that we have an open contest. It would be better if we know how many people have voted and what percentage of the membership that represents.”

A source within Regan’s campaign previously told The National not having the number made it harder to campaign as they were unable to set accurate targets of the number of members they should contact.

The source said: “We would have enjoyed more up front transparency. Everybody is entitled to that.

“Surely when we find out the result we’re going to find out the electorate.”

SNP accounts published by the Electoral Commission in August 2022 stated that the party had 103,884 members in December 2021.

There has been speculation that the number has fallen since then, with numbers including 65,000 and 78,000 having been pitched. 

An SNP spokesperson said: "Candidates have already been made aware that responsibility for the leadership election does not rest with any member of staff."