A PARTY political broadcast by the SNP has been criticised for breaking the Scouts' rules on political neutrality. 

The advert – which features voters who have changed their minds over independence – includes a woman in a Scout leader's uniform. 

Named as Helene from Kirkhill, she tells viewers: "For my children, I feel that an independent Scotland is going to offer them the opportunity to be part of something bigger."

The Scouts have clear rules on political neutrality. 

These state that "members of the movement in uniform, or individuals when acting as representatives of the movement, must not take part in any party political meetings or activities that endorse any particular political party or candidate". 

A spokeswoman for the Scouts said: "The Scout Association is not connected with any political body and has rules which state that members when in uniform or when representing the Scouts must not endorse any political party or candidate. 

"We have spoken to the SNP, reported the situation to OSCR [the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator] and the issue has been investigated at a local level through our complaints procedure.”

It is understood the Scouts raised concerns about the advert when it was first shown in February. 

However it was broadcast again on the BBC and STV on Monday night.

Scottish Conservative chief whip Miles Briggs said: "The SNP have questions to answer about how they let this happen.

"They’ve been caught out blatantly trying to misrepresent the Scouts and drag them into politics.

"This must be investigated further and the SNP need to apologise for misleading the public."

Lauren Bennie, a Scottish Conservative activist involved in Girlguiding, was among those to raise concerns on social media. 

She said she was "deeply concerned and uncomfortable" with the rule breach and called for the images and content to be removed from the broadcast.

She said: "I was shocked, because the rules are really clear. It's quite serious."

A spokesman for the SNP pointed to the appearance of TV survival expert Bear Grylls, who was made Chief Scout in 2009, at the Conservative Party conference in 2017.

He said: "The Chief Scout appeared on stage at Tory Party conference in his full uniform in 2017, so we’re somewhat surprised by these comments. 

"It is also disappointing to read this media statement today given we engaged with Scouts Scotland several months ago when this broadcast was first on TV."

The Scouts previously said Mr Grylls did not breach the organisation's rules in 2017, as he did not endorse a political party or a political candidate.

Mr Grylls said at the time: "For the record: I was not there as a member of any political party but simply to champion Scouts in seeking Government help to reach the toughest communities and most isolated young people in the country."