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The SNP has gone deeper into the red, despite receiving record levels of big donations from rich supporters.

Figures released yesterday by the Electoral Commission revealed that the party increased its borrowings by £250,000 between April 1 and June 30, the largest amount borrowed by any party in the UK.

The report also revealed that Sir Sean Connery gave the SNP £30,000 and that the Stagecoach tycoon Brian Souter donated £325,000 to add to the £300,000 he gave the Nationalists in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Labour Party received more than £300,000 from the Muslim community in the run-up to the Holyrood and council elections, while individual MSPs also donated thousands of pounds to party funds.

The Electoral Commission's quarterly report showed that the SNP had increased its £50,000 Royal Bank of Scotland loan to £300,000.

The decision to extend the party's credit facility came at the same time as wealthy donors such as Mr Souter were pledging to support the SNP's election campaign.

Peter Murrell, the SNP's chief executive, yesterday insisted that increasing the party's debt was necessary during the campaign.

He said: "We needed more flexibility as it was a heavy spending period with a lot of bills coming in. When you're spending £100,000 on a newspaper advertising campaign, all your bills are coming in at once, so it was prudent financial management."

Sir Sean has been a major backer of the SNP for years, but Mr Murrell said his donation on April 11 was his largest since 2001.

Overall, the SNP received £623,610 over the quarter, the fourth-highest level of donations out of all the UK parties.

The Tories received the most donations with £6,323,388, followed by Labour on £5,033,964 and the Liberal Democrats on £1,288,062.

As well as the money from Muslim Friends of Labour, the party received donations totalling about £9000 from MSPs Hugh Henry, Jackie Baillie, Malcolm Chisholm and Jack McConnell.

Businessman Willie Haughey also gave Labour £15,000, while the party also received £10,000 from the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspaper group, as well as £2000 from the PR firm McGarvie Morrison Media.

The Scottish Greens declared £8531 in donations, while the Scottish Socialist Party received £42,000, with £37,000 of this donated from its then MSPs Colin Fox, Rosie Kane, Carolyn Leckie and Frances Curran.