HUMZA Yousaf has attended his first meeting of the SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) since becoming party leader, committing to ensuring the “best practice in transparency” in the process.

The party faced heavy criticism under former chief executive Peter Murrell for failing to publish membership numbers and initially refusing media access to a series of leadership hustings across Scotland.

The row over membership figures especially played a huge role in the internal election, leading to Murrell, and the former communications chief Murray Foote’s, resignations.

The National: SNP chief executive Peter Murrell

Concerns over party transparency became a major talking point around the contest – but Yousaf appears keen for the SNP to learn from their mistakes.

Speaking following the meeting on Saturday he said: “I was delighted to attend my first NEC meeting as the new party leader and to answer questions from those elected by the party to take forward our affairs.

"Whilst of course the leadership election was run efficiently and securely by an external contractor under the supervision of the national secretary, it is clear that the party has lessons to learn from some issues, including the question of membership numbers.

“The important Governance Review established by the depute leader Keith Brown reported in 2021, and we now need to draw on its work, utilise the expertise within the party and seek external input in order to ensure best practice in governance and transparency.

“The SNP has a vibrant internal democracy which encourages debate and provides a broad tent for the respectful exchange of differing views. We need to reflect that in our internal structures whilst also ensuring that we have the confidence, not just of all our members, but of Scotland as well.”

Detailed plans on how to improve governance and transparency will be revealed at the next meeting in two weeks, the party said.

Meanwhile, Yousaf confirmed the NEC has given himself, SNP president Mike Russell and business convener Kirsten Oswald the task of appointing a permanent chief executive – a role currently being filled by Russell.