HUMZA Yousaf has ruled out refunding Indyref2 donations to unhappy SNP supporters just 24 hours after they were urged to get their money back fast.

The Herald revealed yesterday that former member James Gardner successfully secured the return of £480 he donated to the Indyref2 appeal launched by the SNP in 2017.

The fundraising exercise is the subject of a long-running police investigation into whether any of the £660,000 raised was spent on their things.

Former chief executive Peter Murrell and then treasurer Colin Beattie were arrested as part of the probe on April 5 and 18 respectively before being released without charge.

Mr Gardner, 72, a retired defence engineer from Milton of Campsie near Glasgow, applied for a refund of his Indyref2 donations last month.

A member from 2011 to 2019, he was unhappy at the party’s efforts to secure independence and the treatment of former leader Alex Salmond.

He did not offer receipts, but simply emailed party fundraiser Jim Henderson and said his bank account and address were unchanged and he wanted his money back.

He urged others to follow his example, especially after the arrest of Mr Beattie. 

“I’m glad I did it when I did,” he said. “I might be on the last train out the station.”

READ MORE: SNP donors urged to get Indyref2 refunds while they can

It led to a flurry of messages on social media encouraging people to get the cash back, potentially jeopardising the SNP’s cash flow.

In an interview with LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mr Yousaf’s comments on the issue suggest Mr Gardener was right to believe he was one of the lucky ones.

Asked if SNP members would get a refund of the Indyref2 of donations if there was no second referendum in the next year, the party leader said: “‘Well, first of all the £600,000 is part of the police investigation, hence why it'd be very dangerous for me to comment on it.

“Look, money that is raised from the membership by the party, we're going to spend that in advancing the cause of [an] independence referendum.

“We're not reimbursing people for the donations that they have made. 

“People make donations to the party because they want to advance the cause of independence. 

“Every pound and penny that we spend as a party will be on advancing the cause of independence.”

Sean Clerkin, the pro-independence activist whose complaint led to the police probe, said the 2000 or so people who donated to the Indyref2 fund should be refunded automatically and get an apology by Mr Yousaf.

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