The SNP’s worst election in over a decade was cemented at the Highland Football Academy in Dingwall, where, after a glacial recount of the new Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire seat, the Returning Officer confirmed a Lib Dem victory.

The result was no surprise, the SNP candidate, Drew Hendry conceded on Friday night.

His failure to hold on to the constituency means John Swinney only has nine MPs, down from the 48 won under Nicola Sturgeon in 2019.

READ MORE: Lib Dems take Charles Kennedy's seat back off SNP

The party lost a third of their vote, falling from 45% to 29.9%, with almost all going to Labour.

Both the plummeting votes and the reduced number of MPs will have a huge impact on the party’s finances.

In recent years, most of the SNP’s income had come from Short Money, the public cash given to all opposition parties in the Commons with two or more MPs.

As of April 2023, the formula for working out how much public cash each party gets is £21,438.33 for every seat won at the last election plus £42.82 for every 200 votes.

That means the SNP’s allocation for the 2023/24 financial year should have £1,295,033.40.

But the party has lost more than half a million votes since 2019, falling from 1,242,380 to 708,759.

That means the SNP’s future allocation will be somewhere around £344,690.27.

The party’s Westminster Group relies on money to pay staff wages.

So far the only major donation to the SNP this year was a bequest from Robert Benzies. He left £127,998.35 to John Swinney’s party in his will.

The party received no reportable cash donations in the first three months of 2024, and the most recent accounts show a deficit of more than £800,000.

READ MORE: SNP in turmoil as defeated candidates express anger with HQ

Yesterday, as the party accepted their position as the fourth largest in the Commons, there was introspection from some of those ousted by voters.

Writing in the Scotsman, Stewart McDonald said there needed to be a “deeper reckoning within the SNP about where next for the party and for independence.

“Even with the caveat that Labour’s comeback is numerically shallow and inflated by an unfair voting system, the truth is that we have strayed over time from our hard-earned reputation for good governance and being the natural vehicle for people’s aspirations.”

He said the party’s national mission of independence had been given a “hard pause by the electorate.”

“So, do we abandon independence, or simply shout it more loudly? The answer must be ‘no’ to both. But we must get real about where we are.

On election night, Joanna Cherry criticised Nicola Sturgeon for “squandering” chances to achieve Scottish independence.

She said the party had also lost its reputation for “integrity and delivering a competent government” which had contributed to a poor general election result.

Labour won 37 of Scotland’s 57 seats, while the Scottish Tories won five.

The result in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire, means the Liberal Democrats have won six.

Yesterday’s recount was ordered after Returning Officer Derek Brown said there was a discrepancy between the verified votes total and the provisional number of counted votes. There was no clarity on how many votes had gone missing, with the council refusing to say.

READ MORE: Defeated Falkirk SNP candidate blames Swinney for election loss

Ms Hendry’s election agent Jill McAlpine told the Inverness Courier: “We are getting more frustrated as this mismanaged election count goes on because of the dire lack of transparency from the returning officer.”

The Lib Dem's Angus MacDonald won 18,159 votes, while Mr Hendry took 15,999. Labour were on a distant third on : 6,246, while Reform took 2,934, the Tories 2,502 and the Greens 2,038.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "My heart is in the highlands today. The Liberal Democrats were all but wiped out in 2015, but that wasn’t the worst thing to happen to us that year. Weeks later we lost Charles Kennedy.

"That the final act of this general election should see his old seat returned to Lib Dem hands and the care of Angus MacDonald is simply wonderful."