HUMZA Yousaf has said that if his fellow leadership candidates plan on questioning the election process they need to produce “evidence” that backs up their concerns.

Both Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have called for independent auditors to be brought in to oversee the leadership vote.

On Wednesday evening Forbes’s campaign manager released a statement which cast doubt on the independent nature of the company overseeing the ballot process.

It said that the “perception” that Mi-Voice, the election services firm carrying out the ballot, was “independent” and “responsible for the entire process” was incorrect.

Instead, it claimed that “they are simply a company contracted by the SNP to provide services to their client’s specification. This is entirely different.”

However, speaking outside the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain building in Edinburgh, Yousaf said that he would be “keen” to see evidence of Kate Forbes or Ash Regan’s concerns with the election process.

He said: “If anyone has any tangible or credible evidence of the Mi-Voice process – [that’s] the external third-party company that we’ve used for many, many years – that isn’t working or that there’s issues with then they should publish that evidence.

“I’d be very keen to see it because this is a process that is tried and tested for many years within the party.

“Mi-Voice has been used by the Electoral Reform Society, it has even been used by Wrexham FC. It’s a well-known company.

“If they have any evidence and they believe that a third-party, traditional auditor would help with that then of course I’ve got no objection.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in call for independent auditors

“I just think we shouldn’t be casting doubt on a process that has been used for many years.”

When asked by The National how he would regain the trust of members who had doubts about the party’s election apparatus if elected leader, he urged people not to question the result regardless of who wins.

“I think it’s a really important point that what we don’t do is engage in smears, particularly when there’s no credible, tangible evidence and attack a party process that has been used for years.

“Not just by the SNP, Mi-Voice is a company that has been used by many other organisations and political parties, I believe.

“We need to be really, really careful that we’re not calling into question the result, whoever the winner is.”

The SNP said that the candidates have already been made aware that the responsibility for the election “does not rest with any member of staff”.