THE junior partner in the Scottish Government has been fined more than £2,000 by the election watchdog for failing to file party accounts on time.

The Scottish Greens blamed a hold-up by an unidentified “third party” for the problem.

The Electoral Commission today announced it had imposed a £2,300 penalty on the Scottish Greens for the “late delivery” of their annual statement of accounts.

It said it was "disappointing" the clear rules on transparency and party finances had been broken.

It also said the penalty reflected a "recent history of non-compliance" by the Scottish Greens.

The party has until July 13 to pay the fine.

The announcement was made as the Commission published details of investigations it had concluded in the last month, work it said was "an important part of delivering transparency in political finance in the UK".

The Scottish Green accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 should have been filed by July 7 last year, but were not filed until August 26.

They were signed off by National Treasurer Gordon Dickson on August 12.

At the time, the Scottish Greens were holding talks with Nicola Sturgeon about forming a joint government with the SNP in the wake of the 2021 Holyrood election.

The deal was announced on August 20, the same day the party’s auditors signed off the accounts.

The accounts were then filed a week later.

The Scottish Greens also incurred seven penalties totalling £5,349 in September 2020 for "failure to deliver accurate quarterly donations reports", and another £200 fine in March 2021 for failing to deliver a complete spending campaign return for the 2019 general election.

Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation at the Electoral Commission, said: “It is important for transparency that voters have timely and accurate information about political parties’ finances. The requirements are clear, so it is always disappointing when they are not met.

“Where we find that offences have been committed, we take into consideration a range of factors when deciding the level of sanction, as set out in our Enforcement Policy.”

The Commission also investigated whether Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party had committed an offence by failing to deliver a quarterly donations report, but made “no determination” of an offence and the case was “closed without further action”.

A Commission spokesperson added: "We concluded that a sanction was proportionate and in the public interest.

"We took into account the party’s cooperation during our investigation when deciding the level of the fine.

"We concluded that, although the party has taken steps to improve its future compliance, the offence in this case is serious and harmful enough to impose a sanction."

A Scottish Green party spokesperson said: “We regret that due to documentation from a third party being received late our statement of accounts for 2020 was not submitted on time. Our accounts received a clean audit and we are confident the problem will not reoccur.”