DOUGLAS Ross clashed with SNP minister George Adam during a heated and often bad tempered debate on government transparency in Holyrood. 

The Scottish Conservative leader set out a number of questions that he said the First Minister had an obligation to answer about the SNP's “sorry saga.” 

Humza Yousaf was not in the chamber for the debate tabled by the Tories. 

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Last month, when Mr Ross tried to raise the police’s investigation into the SNP’s finances and funds during First Minister’s Questions, he was knocked back by the Presiding Officer as Holyrood’s rules mean the session must focus on Government business.

While the motion for Wednesday’s debate was wide-ranging, and touched on the budget process, freedom of information and the ministerial code, the speeches mostly focussed on the chaos engulfing the SNP.

Police Scotland is currently investigating if £660,000 raised by the SNP for a second independence referendum campaign was spent on other things.

Former chief executive Peter Murrell and then treasurer Colin Beattie have both been arrested as part of the probe, with the two men later released without charge, pending further investigation.

There has been speculation in Holyrood for some time that Nicola Sturgeon could soon be questioned.

Setting out the “basic questions” he said still needed to be answered, Mr Ross said: “How was the supposedly ring-fenced indyref2 funds raised through and spent?

"Why did the party's former chief executive Peter Murrell give the SNP a six-figure loan? And when will that loan be repaid? 

“Was this loan, a consideration in the decision not to suspend Peter Murrell? Not to suspend Colin Beattie and potentially any other MSP currently serving in this Parliament who may find themselves arrested by the police?” he added.

“Why was the unused motorhome kept at the home of the former first minister mother-in-law's home? And why were members of the SNP’s Finance and Audit Committee refused information on the party accounts?” 

Mr Ross said these were “basic questions that are being asked by our constituents and members of the public across the country”.

“Now, I think it's really important that we have transparency at the heart of government, and we have a governing party that is willing to answer these questions. But sadly, we don't.”

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Mr Adam, the SNP Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business, accused the Tory leader of hypocrisy after he refused to reveal how many members his party had. 

“They won't practice what they're trying to preach here. The absolute hypocrisy from the Conservatives is almost laughable. You have to admire someone who has that level of brass neck,” he told MSPs.

“The party of a Prime Minister that would only agree to speak to the Scottish press if he could handpick the media, and he could actually handpick the questions. 

“The party that parks the House of Lords with donors like Scotland Office Minister Lord Offord, who after being appointed for life in the House of Lords and given a place in the government payroll had given the Tories £150,000. 

“And the Tories come to us here and the Scottish Parliament, and they talk about our integrity.”

Mr Adam admitted there were "issues in the SNP which need to be addressed."

“But I can stand here and say these issues are going to be addressed," he added, pointing to the governance review promised by Mr Yousaf.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie said she found it “extraordinary that the SNP’s sole defence is to demand membership numbers from the opposition when they are being investigated by Police Scotland.” 

“This is serious, and it's not about their membership numbers,” she added. 

“Now I know many people will say that the party and government are two separate things. But that is simply not true. In this case, the culture that pervades the SNP as a party pervades the SNP-led Scottish Government too. They are inextricably linked.”

“This is a shameful episode in Scottish politics,” she added. “People who believed in the SNP have been badly let down. But so too have the people of Scotland. The governing party is mired in scandal, which is a complete distraction from focusing on the people's priorities. “

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Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said he almost felt sorry for the SNP. The party that had “seemed impregnable for the last 16 years, now shambling, anarchic, quarrelling.” 

“But we must all feel sorry for Mike Russell, the modest self-effacing president of the Scottish National Party. 

“At the last election, for four whole weeks, he was forced to live in a smelly old horsebox. If only he had known. Poor President Mike could have been chauffeured in that executive motor home. 

“I can almost see it. In fact, I can't get the image out of my head. President Mike thrust atop the luxury motor home, draped over his chaise long dressed in his satin robe, addressing his adoring crowds at Dunoon Pier. 

“What a glorious state that would have been, but like everyone else, he was kept in the dark.”

The Herald:

Green MSP Ross Greer said if the Tories were truly interested in good party governance, “they really need to look much much closer to home.” 

“The Conservatives demand transparency and accountability from everyone but themselves. This debate isn't motivated by principled belief and good governance. It's pure opportunism. But it's spectacularly backfired with a party with so much baggage of its own that we've barely scratched the surface this afternoon.”