LABOUR has urged the SNP to confirm that the technology used for their leadership election will be "fully protected against hacking and interference."

In a letter to the party's president Michael Russell, Chief Executive Peter Murrell, the three leadership candidates, and the Electoral Commission, Jackie Baillie has set out a number of questions about the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon. 

The MSP said the "murky internal politics" of the SNP should not be allowed to "derail" the election of Scotland's next first minister. 

The Labour politician's intervention comes after MP Joanna Cherry claimed the SNP's 'party machinery' was pushing Humza Yousaf's bid to be leader. 

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry claims SNP 'party machine' backing Humza Yousaf

Candidates have also expressed concern over Mr Murrell's role in the contest. Ash Regan said it was a "clear conflict of interest".

The ballot is being carried out by the firm, Mi-Voice, with most of the voting done online.

According to their website, previous clients include the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Police Federation, the Scouts, and the Camping and Caravanning Clubb.  

In her letter, Ms Baillie asked if the process would "be entirely independent of the party."

She also asked if Mr Murrell - husband of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - would "excuse himself from the process entirely."

The Scottish Labour deputy leader also asked the SNP if the voting system matched the standards legally required of trade union ballots and if the results would "be published in full."

Ms Baillie said: “The SNP are not just electing their next party leader – they are choosing the next First Minister of Scotland, and we cannot let their murky internal politics derail this process.

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“Their long track record of secrecy and cover-up raises questions about their ability to conduct this race fairly and honestly.

“If anyone is expected to believe the SNP can govern with integrity and openness, then these principles must be at the heart of this race.

“The SNP must respond to these serious questions and protect against corruption in this race.”

According to the leadership election rules, "members with an email address on the membership system will be issued with an electronic ballot paper. Members who do not have an email address on the system will be issued with a paper ballot paper." 

READ MORE: Kate Forbes to target house-building as FM amid 'immense pressure'

If a member's email is invalid or undeliverable then a paper ballow will be issued.  

The rules go on: "The National Secretary may extend the time of the closure of the electronic ballot in the event of significant issues with the electronic voting platrform, on advice from the ballot services company."

The SNP has been approached for comment. Mi-Voice referred The Herald to the SNP.

Over the weekend, the party told the Mail on Sunday they were working closely with GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre.