SNP members say there is “work to be done” to restore trust after the shock resignation of key figures – but that it is “definitely not” the end of the party or the independence movement.

A turbulent 24 hours for the party has seen the stepping down of communications chief Murray Foote and the resignation of chief executive Peter Murrell following a row over membership figures.

Erin Lux said: “I think right now what we are seeing in general is just a changing of the guard – there was a generation of politicians who have been in charge, whether it is Nicola for eight years or people who have been around for much longer, and people at HQ stepping down and making space for a new generation.

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“Our two frontrunner leadership candidates are in their early to mid-30s – that is a new generation.

“I really just think this is a generational shift and it needed to happen – we have been doing things the same way for a long time and I think it is time there was change at HQ.

“Nicola herself said in her resignation speech that she felt she has become a figure that is dominating the Yes movement and that is not what she wants – she wanted to let a new generation emerge without feeling like she was overshadowing them.

“I don’t think this is the end of the SNP at all – it is a shift change and it is definitely not the end of the independence movement.”

Michael Hannon said: “We can’t shy away from the fact it is obviously going to have some kind of impact.

“These are the people who have been not only at the top of their game but the top of the SNP for years in some cases and they have made an invaluable contribution not just to the party but to the movement.

“I didn’t see the leadership contest working out like this, but because Nicola Sturgeon was such a massive figure, perhaps it was naïve of us to think it would work out any differently.

“Obviously it was going to be messy, obviously there was going to be a lot of debate and it is interesting to see how the SNP are stepping out of the shadow of those really senior figures who ran the SNP for so many years.

“But you have got to be optimistic and look forward to the future and hopefully this isn’t the end, it is the beginning of something else.”

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Kat Cary said: “I look forward to the new CEO re-energising and making HQ work for members.

“I do think it was quite savvy for Nicola to resign when she did, as we do have three years to build up support before the next [Holyrood] election and I think we very much need those to show competence in governance, no matter who wins, to reinvigorate support and trust.

“Saying, ‘oh, the party is in shambles and falling apart’ is a little bit of wishful thinking on our opposition’s part, but I do think it is going to take some hard work to restore trust by all the party members and the leadership.”

Dr Shelly-Ann Brown said: “We need a leader who can unite the party 100%, especially as we haven’t gained independence yet.

“So we need the unity within the party, but also the party needs to show the entire nation that we are unified.

“We are not doing that at the moment. The things they are saying in leadership debates are actually giving ammunition to the opposition parties and that is madness.

“Mudslinging each other and so on isn’t acceptable, as that is what those outwith the party are seeing.”