A former spindoctor who denounced the police investigation into the SNP’s finances as a “grotesque circus” is to be the party’s new £95,000-a-year chief executive.

Murray Foote, who also accused officers of “storming” SNP HQ and predicted no charges would ever be brought, takes the helm on Monday.

The party said the appointment followed a "rigorous, open recruitment process" that "generated significant interest from a range of high-quality candidates". 

SNP Business Convener, Kirsten Oswald MP, said: “Murray was an exceptional candidate in a strong field. His managerial experience and skills will enable him to hit the ground running in delivering for SNP members, including leading changes in governance and transparency in party headquarters."

Mr Foote said: “I am delighted to take up this important role and look forward to helping build the campaign for independence, both by strengthening the SNP's headquarter functions and supporting the party's formidable organisation across Scotland."

Writing on Twitter/X, SNP leader and First Minister Humza Yousaf said Mr Foote would bring "a great wealth of experience and talent to the role".

Opposition parties called the 56-year-old a "continuity candidate" who wouldn't deliver change.

A former editor of the Labour-supporting Daily Record, Mr Foote was the architect of The Vow on the eve of the 2014 referendum.

He quit as the SNP’s Holyrood communications chief in March after being misled by colleagues at HQ about the party losing a third of its members.

After unwittingly misleading the media in turn, Mr Foote resigned saying the episode had created “a serious impediment to my role”.

His exit piled huge pressure on then chief executive Peter Murrell, the husband of Nicola Sturgeon, who resigned the next day after two decades in charge.

Mr Murrell was arrested and questioned by the police in April as part of Operation Branchform, the two-year probe into SNP fundraising.

Read more: Who is Murray Foote, the SNP's new chief executive?

Detectives are examining whether £660,000 raised for Indyref2 was spent on other things.

Former SNP national treasurer Colin Beattie and Ms Sturgeon were also arrested and questioned as part of the investigation in April and June respectively.

All three senior SNP figures were released without charge.

The initial raid on the Murrell-Sturgeon home in Glasgow on April 5 saw police erect a blue evidence tent on the couple’s front lawn.

Officers also raided SNP HQ in Edinburgh and seized a £110,000 luxury motorhome from outside the Fife home of Mr Murrell’s 92-year-old mother.

In May, Mr Foote was scathing about the police probe and told the Daily Record there would be “serious consequences” if turned out to be baseless.

He said: “The use of forensic tents and a whole platoon of plod at the house turned a routine process into a grotesque circus, compounded by the storming of SNP HQ. 

"It is inconceivable to me that Peter would so much as consider doing something dodgy lest it rebound and put his wife in jeopardy.

"Colin is no-one’s fool. He is a capable, cautious and diligent MSP who values his integrity.

"So I’m prepared to gamble the Foote £5 on no charges at the end of all this.

"Should that bet be a winner, then the police and Crown Office will find themselves together in a very deep hole.

"Police diligently going about their business is one thing. What happened at the FM’s home is something else entirely.”  

Read more: Operation Branchform: What is the SNP finance probe?

One of Mr Foote’s first challenges will be overseeing the SNP campaign in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election. 

He will also have to cope if Operation Branchform results in further arrests or charges. 

Since Mr Murrell's departure, the day-to-day work of the SNP has been overseen by acting chief executive Sue Ruddick.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Presented with the chance of a fresh start for the SNP after years of secrecy, Humza Yousaf has instead appointed Murray Foote as the successor to the beleaguered Peter Murrell.

“This is just the latest continuity candidate to be brought back by Humza Yousaf who is desperately trying to get the band back together ahead of what could be their farewell tour.

“It is clearer than ever that only Scottish Labour will give Scotland the fresh start it needs.”

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “So much for change. The discredited SNP are merely reshuffling the same people into different posts.

“Now the man Peter Murrell lied to about SNP membership figures, causing them both to quit their posts, has replaced him as chief executive.

“Nicola Sturgeon and her husband may be in the background but their top team are still running the show in the party under Humza Yousaf.”

An Alba party spokesperson added: "To win independence we need to bring a majority of Scots together, including many that voted No in 2014.

"However, the independence movement will rightly have reservations that the architect of The Vow - which sold the lie of Scotland having the most powerful devolved parliament in the world if we voted No, who then spent several years bragging about the effectiveness of The Vow - is the right person to be at the top of the party of a pro independence Government.”