The SNP's new £95,000-a-year chief executive will not be responsible for key general election roles, the Herald can reveal.

Former journalist Murray Foote is not in charge of candidate nominations, ballots papers or the reporting of campaign expenditure.

His predecessor as chief executive, Peter Murrell, oversaw all of them.

AN SNP insider said Mr Foote's absence from the roles was "bloody odd", but the party said it was about improving "operational oversight".

Mr Murrell quit in March last year during the SNP leadership contest after party HQ misled the public about the loss of 30,000 members.

Mr Foote quit after three years as the SNP’s head of communications at Holyrood over the scandal, saying he too had been fed false information, creating a “serious impediment” to his job.

While “acting in good faith”, he had given the media information about the membership numbers which later turned out to have “serious issues”.

READ MORE: Who is Murray Foote, the SNP's new chief executive?

However Mr Foote, a former editor of the Daily Record and architect of the tabloid’s ‘Vow’ front page on the eve of the 2014 independence referendum, returned to the SNP within months.

In August it was announced he had been succeeded Mr Murrell as the SNP’s new chief executive.

Party leader Humza Yousaf said Mr Foote would bring “a wealth of experience and talent to the role”.

But although Mr Foote was widely respected as a journalist, some in the SNP were wary about his lack of practical campaign experience.

In his 20 years as SNP chief executive, Mr Murrell helped the party achieve a string of election wins under Alex Salmond and Ms Sturgeon.

While chief executive, Mr Murrell was registered with the Electoral Commission as holding two of the four key officer roles of the party - nominating officer and campaigns officer.

The leader and treasurer roles were held by Ms Sturgeon, his wife, and Colin Beattie.

The Herald:

The nominating officer is responsible for “arranging the nomination of candidates and approving the party identity marks used on nomination forms and ballot papers at elections”. 

The campaigns officer has responsibility “for compliance with the financial reporting rules for campaign expenditure at particular elections” instead of the treasurer. 

However Mr Foote has not taken up any officer role, and the SNP’s in-house lawyer, Scott Martin, is both nominating officer and campaigns officer.

Mr Foote’s absence from any statutory role is unusual.

UK Labour’s general secretary David Evans is also his party’s treasurer; Scottish Tory chief executive James Tweedie is deputy treasurer for the UK Conservatives; the UK Liberal Democrat chief executive Mike Dixon is his party’s campaigns officer; the Scottish Greens’ operations manager Pete Morrison is the party’s nominating officer; and Alba’s general secretary Chris McEleny is his party’s nominating officer.

READ MORE: Murray Foote, who called SNP police probe 'grotesque', is party boss

The SNP’s finances have been under investigation for more than two years as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Branchform, which was launched after complaints that £660,000 raised specifically for a second independence referendum was spent on other things.

Mr Murrell, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Beattie have all been arrested and released without charge.

Mr Foote denounced the probe as "grotesque circus" before becoming chief executive.

One SNP source said: “The Murray Foote situation is unusual. In fact it’s completely bloody odd. It’s not something that was done historically. Maybe he’s trying to stay semi-detached?”

Mr Foote’s first electoral test in charge of the SNP was the Rutherglen & Hamilton West byelection, which the party lost to Labour on a 20% swing.

An SNP spokesperson said: “There is no requirement for either of these two statutory positions to be held by Chief Executive and other major parties have a variety of arrangements in place.

"In any organisation, leadership change provides the opportunity to reflect on structures and improve operational oversight.”