THE SNP's former treasurer has said he didn’t know about the party’s purchase of the £110,000 luxury motorhome seized from Nicola Sturgeon’s mother-in-law.

Colin Beattie made the statement as he spoke to the media on his way to the weekly meeting of SNP MSPs at Holyrood.

Police are investigating if £660,000 raised by the SNP specifically for a new independence referendum was spent on other things.

On April 5, officers arrested Peter Murrell, the SNP’s former chief executive and the husband of Ms Sturgeon, and searched the couple’s Glasgow home.

They also seized a luxury campervan from outside the Dunfermline home of Mr Murrell’s 92-year-old widowed mother, where it had sat unused for two years.

Party sources later claimed it had been bought as a Covid compliant ‘battle bus’ for the Holyrood elections, but had not been needed.

However it was not clear why it was not returned to the seller or sold on.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf meeting SNP MPs as fears grow over party finances

Asked “did you know about the motorhome purchase and did you sign off?”, Mr Beattie said: “No, I didn't know about it.”

However the SNP accounts for 2021, which Mr Beattie signed off on 30 June 2022, include new "motor vehicles" worth £80,632 after depreciation among the party's assets.

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Mr Beattie signed off the accounts a year after being brought back as treasurer after a six-month break  following the resignation of MP Douglas Chapman, who resigned from the role over a lack of transparency.

Six hours later, Mr Beattie issued a statement via the SNP trying to clarify the matter, but which raised more questions.

He said: "This afternoon I was asked if I knew about the motorhome purchase to which I answered no.

"Given some of the coverage of this answer, I believe it is important to clarify that I was unaware of the transaction at the time of purchase.

"I became aware of the transaction via the 2021 annual accounts."

The vehicle is understood to have been purchased in January 2021, while Mr Chapman was treasurer, not Mr Beattie.

However Mr Beattie was back as treasurer for more than a year before he signed off the 2021 accounts, so it is unclear when he first learned of the motorhome purchase.

If he only became aware of the vehicle via the accounts, it also suggests SNP HQ did not actively tell him about it.

Earlier this month, Humza Yousaf said he didn't learn about the party owning the upmarket Niesmann+Bischoff vehicle until "shortly after I became leader of the party".

The first minister said: "I as leader have seen the warrant in terms of the items that [the police] have confiscated, including the motorhome."

Mr Beattie, the MSP for Midlothian North & Musselburgh, stood down as SNP treasurer last week, the day after he was arrested by officers from Operation Branchform.

Like Mr Murrell, he was released without charge pending further investigation.

Mr Beattie also quit his seat on Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee.

However he remains a member of the Economy and Fair Work Committee and is Chair of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit, which oversees Audit Scotland.

Cumbernauld MP Stuart McDonald became the new SNP treasurer on Saturday.

Asked what state he was leaving the SNP's finances in, Mr Beattie said: "The SNP is in the black."

Asked if the party was a going concern or going bust, he said: "We're a going concern, definitely."

Asked why the party was finding it so hard to find new auditors since the resignation of accountants Johnston Carmichael last September, he said it was partly a "market situation", meaning demand for auditors is high.

He said he had no plans to quit the other Holyrood committees on which he sits, adding: "We'll just see how that develops".

Asked if he was a fit and proper person to sit on them, he said: "I would say so. That's my opinion."

READ MORE: SNP refuses to say when Nicola Sturgeon will return to Holyrood

Asked if he should be suspended by the SNP, he said: "No comment on that."

Asked if this episode the worst thing that had ever happened to him, Mr Beattie said: "No, I was in Beirut actually when I was under artillery fire. That was worse."

Glasgow Shettleston SNP MSP John Mason today announced he would be standing down at the 2026 election.

Asked if he would be standing down too, the 71-year-old Mr Beattie said it was “far too early to be considering”.

After the SNP group meeting, Mr Beattie was asked repeatedly how he didn't know about the motorhome given he had signed off the SNP accounts, and said he had "Nothing more to add". 

Scottish Tory chair Craig Hoy said: "If this farce wasn’t so serious it would be comical. 

“It’s little wonder the public have lost all faith in the scandal-ridden SNP when leading figures like Colin Beattie can’t even get their stories straight.

“The SNP need to stop treating people like fools and finally start being upfront and transparent.”