The SNP’s “internal difficulties” led to people feeling the party was detached from their daily lives, Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said as he reflected on the party’s heavy general election defeat.

A disastrous election night for the SNP saw the party fall to nine MPs, down from 48 in 2019, losing in the entirety of Scotland’s central belt.

Senior figures in the party have been airing their opinions on the reasons for the losses, with ousted MP Joanna Cherry laying the blame at former leader Nicola Sturgeon’s door.

Former Westminster leader Ian Blackford gave a cautious backing to John Swinney’s leadership but said voters had sent the SNP a “very clear message”.

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Mr Flynn was re-elected in Aberdeen South but his majority was reduced to 3,758, as Scottish Labour finished second in the constituency.

In an article written for the Daily Record, he said the SNP must be guided by the “brutal honesty” of the election results.

He said: “We were beaten and we were beaten well – we can’t and we won’t run away from that truth.

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“Honesty and humility is the only response with any hope of winning back those who voted for others or those who decided to stay at home.”

The Aberdeen South MP said it would take time to understand the defeat but it was clear the party’s difficulties in recent years had contributed.

He continued: “The distraction of dealing with our own internal difficulties has meant people began to feel that we were detached from their daily lives and lived experience.

“We have lost trust and it’s our job, and our job alone, to win it back.”

Mr Flynn backed Mr Swinney’s leadership and said it was right to “genuinely congratulate” Sir Keir Starmer on his victory.

The SNP MP added: “We don’t agree that stability means change and we don’t believe it will fix Britain.

“Those are the fundamentals of why we still believe in independence.”

Following Ms Sturgeon’s resignation in March last year, Humza Yousaf became SNP leader and First Minister after a leadership contest which exposed divisions in the party.

He stepped down after just over a year in the job as he dealt with the backlash of his decision to suddenly end the powersharing agreement with the Scottish Greens.

An ongoing police investigation into the funding and finances of the SNP has led to Peter Murrell, the SNP's former chief executive, who is married to Ms Sturgeon, being charged with embezzlement.

Ms Sturgeon and former party treasurer Colin Beattie were arrested last year in connection with the same investigation.

They were released without charge pending further inquiries and are still under investigation.