ASH Regan has argued SNP members should be allowed to change their vote if they wish to, following a recent row over the reporting of membership numbers.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP’s team put out a statement which said she has put forward “proposals” to interim party chief executive Michael Russell that “provide assurance to members with minimum disruption to the election process that we can move ahead constructively on”.

She has highlighted the facility that exists within Mi-Voice – the firm tasked with running the ballot – to allow members who have already chosen their preferred candidate to alter their vote.

Regan has also said candidates should be allowed to send one email using the SNP mailing system to members with a “last minute updated message that reflects current events”.

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Over the weekend, Peter Murrell resigned as chief executive after it was admitted that the media was given false information about the number of members who had left the party in recent years. Russell has taken on the role for the last week of the leadership contest on an interim basis. 

An article that said the SNP lost 30,000 members in a few years was initially dismissed by party HQ.

However, after the SNP leadership contenders requested the official figures, the 30,000 figure was found to be accurate. The row led to the resignation of SNP communications chief Murray Foote, followed by Murrell standing down the next day. 

Regan’s team said in a statement: “Due to the volatile nature of recent events Ash Regan has held off from media to forge a path forward in conjunction with SNP HQ.

The National: The membership numbers row led to Murrell's resignationThe membership numbers row led to Murrell's resignation

“The campaign team thanks Mike Russell for stepping in and understanding the situation.

“There has been a surge in traffic in our campaign mailbox and social media from concerned members, looking for guidance on whether the ballot will go ahead unaltered or if the ballot will be reset.

“My team have put forward proposals that provide assurance to members with minimum disruption to the election process that we can move ahead constructively on.

“In 2015, selection contests for Westminster candidatures had varying end dates. In some cases, candidates were removed from the ballot before a race ended, where this happened members were able to update their vote. The facility exists within the Mi-Voice system.

“This would have the benefit of not disrupting members who are happy with their vote while providing an opportunity to reconsider for those who are not.

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“In addition, each candidate would be allowed to send one email to the members using the SNP mailing system - allowing a last minute updated message that reflects current events.

“We thank Mike for taking this suggestion seriously and lend our support to the integrity of the ballot. It is important that all parties respect the outcome of the ballot and give full support to the new leader of the SNP.”

All three candidates put pressure on the party last week to release membership numbers while Kate Forbes and Regan called for independent auditors to oversee the election.

Yousaf told The National he disagreed with Regan and doesn't think the SNP should change the system at this late stage.

He said: “I don't think in the last seven days of this contest that we need to be reopening ballots or changing the process.”

Asked if the vote should be started afresh, Yousaf added: “No. It’s clear that all three candidates have now said they have faith in the integrity of the ballot and that all three will respect the outcome of the ballot. That’s good.

"I’m pleased that the other candidates have agreed with my position that I’ve had from the beginning, that the integrity of the ballot is not in question."

Asked if people should be able to change vote, he said: “I just don’t think it’s needed, given that all three candidates say they respect the integrity of the ballot. I don’t know why in the last week we’d want to change the system, which could probably cause some level of confusion.”

Forbes said on Monday morning she would “like to get to the end” of the leadership contest as she reaffirmed her confidence in the voting process.

The Finance Secretary admitted the events of the last few days have “hurt” members including herself.

However, she said she was “very confident” in the party’s ability to run the election properly.

She did add though that it remains her position an independent third-party auditor should be brought in. 

Yousaf has said Murrell resigned over a “cock up not conspiracy” and maintained Nicola Sturgeon’s husband was a “good person who’s now done the honourable thing”.

The Health Secretary added he didn’t know why so many people had left the party but that he wanted to understand their reasons.

The SNP have been approached for comment about Regan's statement.