ASH Regan has said that she believes there is a “significant amount of voter regret” within the SNP due to the change in the “material circumstances” of the party over the past few days.

During a leadership debate broadcast live on LBC radio, Regan reacted to the news that interim chief executive Mike Russell had ruled out allowing members to change their vote following the row over membership figures and the resignation of chief executive Peter Murrell.

She said: “I think there’s a significant amount of voter regret out there at the moment.

“This contest is obviously being run in what I consider to be an inappropriately short timeframe.

“Because I felt that for something that’s so significant as not just choosing a party leader but also choosing the next first minister of Scotland, we needed a bit more time to set out our stall to members.

“Now what’s happened is, over the last week, the material circumstances of this party have changed beyond all recognition. And I think some members may be thinking about how they cast their vote and thinking things are not quite as they thought they were.”

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When asked by presenter Iain Dale whether she would escalate her concerns about the transparency of election, she replied that it was not her intention to take the SNP to the courts.

“I have taken on legal advice but I have no plans to take any court action,” she said. “What I put forward was what I thought was a very sensible, credible, compromised position.

“I’ve said I will absolutely support who every becomes the leader. But I do think there’s no downside to increased transparency, I think everyone would agree about that.”

Later in the debate, Regan asked Humza Yousaf what he would say to members who wanted the opportunity to edit their vote due to being “shocked by the events of the past week”.

He said: “I don’t know a single election where there’s been vote editing unless a candidate has dropped out.

“I don’t see any candidate to my left or to my dropping out of the race.”

When Dale interrupted to query whether they allowed vote editing in the latest Conservative Party leadership contest, Humza said that he agreed with the decision taken by Mike Russell.

“I think the reason why they [the Conservatives] didn’t do it was because they got advice from the Cyber Security Centre that it could be open to hacking. And that’s why Mike Russell said that it wouldn’t be the right idea.

“I have to say, I agree with him.”

READ MORE: SNP members will NOT be allowed to change vote, says Mike Russell

The candidates also returned to debating an issue that has perhaps been overshadowed by the row over membership figures in recent days: the uncertainty surrounding the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

A caller asked the candidates how many transgender people they spoke to before making their choice about how to vote on the legislation.

Kate Forbes said that she spoke to “quite a few” transgender people about the legislation but that she also spoke to women and girls.

“My position on this is very clear: I think the Gender Recognition Act needs to be reformed,” she said “It needs to be reformed in a way that destigmatises the trans community.

“It is extremely onerous, it is extremely challenging to go through with the process. Many of them will say it’s extremely undignified in terms of the evidence you have to provide.

“So, it does need to be reformed in a way that makes it a lot more dignifying.

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“But I think it needs to be reformed in a way that also ensures the confidence of women and girls. And I think a lot of the debate is bigger than the actual core substance of the bill.”

However, Regan and Yousaf once again clashed in how they would approach reaching a conclusion about gender reform.

Ash Regan said: “I spoke to a number of trans people, as you would expect, when I was doing the research in order to take part in the later stages of the bill.

“And what came across to me quite strongly in fact was that the trans community are not homogenous and that many of them had different views on this subject.”

Regan said it was the “ideal type of issue” to be debated at a citizen’s assembly – a premise to which Yousaf strongly disagreed with.

“I take some level of exception to what Ash says about throwing this issue into a citizen’s assembly.

“Sometimes in a position of leadership you have to demonstrate that leadership, particularly when it’s for the most marginalised communities.

“You can’t just not back the rights of minorities because the majority of the public might not back it. That’s not leadership; that’s a cop-out.”

The candidates were also asked to describe Alex Salmond in three words.

Yousaf said that in light of Salmond’s comments about him in the media his three words were “bite my tongue” while Regan said “a talented politician”.

However, in perhaps the most artfully political answer Forbes said “former first minister”.