THE SNP has admitted holding a meeting with Cambridge Analytica – but insisted it judged them “a bunch of cowboys” and no further contact was made.

It comes after a whistleblower claimed the under-fire consultancy held meetings with the SNP in London and Edinburgh.

Brittany Kaiser, former director of program development at the under-fire consultancy, made the statement under questioning from SNP MP Brendan O'Hara.

She told MPs on a Westminster committee: “I do know that we have been in pitches and negotiations with UK parties in the past, such as the SNP.”

Watch: Cambridge Analytica held meetings with SNP, claims former director

But the SNP refuted some of her statement, insisting: “The SNP has never worked with Cambridge Analytica.

“An external consultant had one meeting in London. His assessment was that they were ‘a bunch of cowboys’, which turned out to be true. No further meetings were held.”

Ms Kaiser’s claim – which visibly surprised Mr O’Hara – comes amid widespread outcry over the company’s alleged misuse of social media data.

Suspended CEO Alexander Nix was filmed by undercover reporters boasting of using dirty tricks to influence elections, including manufacturing sex scandals.

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Ms Kaiser said she was not part of the pitches and negotiations with the SNP, but could look through her old emails and “find some names” to find out exactly who had met when.

She said: “I believe that there were meetings that took place in London, where individuals came down from Edinburgh to visit us at our Mayfair headquarters. And then further meetings were undertaken in Edinburgh near the parliament.”

Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have harvested the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook profiles without permission during the US election, in order to help Donald Trump win. It has also been linked to the Brexit vote.

A spokesman for the First Minister denied any knowledge of meetings between the SNP and Cambridge Analytica, but said the matter was a "party issue, not a Government issue".

He said: "I'm not even aware of any such meetings, far less any ministers being present."

Watch: Cambridge Analytica held meetings with SNP, claims former director

The SNP has previously demanded full disclosure over alleged connections between the Conservatives and the data analysis firm.

SNP MSP George Adam described the controversy as "staggering" last month, adding: "The reports about the operations of Cambridge Analytica raise very serious questions about our democracy."