Sturgeon turmoil: Indy taskforce chief quits in same week as treasurer ‘worst job ever’

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Former Scottish Government minister Marco Biagi was brought in last year to head the SNP’s independence taskforce force as a consultant. But last week, Mr Biagi announced he would be leaving the post.

Mr Biagi said the job had gone from being one of the best to one of the worst.

In a Facebook post, he said he had “the best job offer I’ve ever had turn out to be the worst job I’ve ever had and publicly quit it”.

He also made a subtle dig at Angus Robertson, who was selected as the Holywood candidate for the Edinburgh Central constituency ahead of the elections earlier this month.

Mr Biagi said he was disappointed his former constituency of Edinburgh Central decided they would “rather have a pompous impressionable idiot than me”.

His resignation comes in the same week as MP Douglas Chapman also resigned from his role as the party’s treasurer.

Mr Chapman claimed he had “not received the support or financial information to carry out the fiduciary duties of National Treasurer”.

One senior SNP source told The Herald Mr Chapman was “malcontent” and “didn’t work well with the party leadership”.

They said: “He is one of these people who is generally malcontent about things.

“He has positioned himself within the party as someone who is anti-establishment, and someone who wants to take on the leadership.

“He was one of the first people many suspected would jump to the Alba party, which of course now would be a bit stupid seeing as they’re completely redundant.

“However many of those in the disgruntled faction of the party have now gone to Alba….Maybe he feels a bit lonely?”

The source continued: “The way that HQ works is on a team approach, and so if your intention is to come in and knock down the door and cause a hoo-hah, it is not really conducive to a working relationship.”

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Another senior SNP source added how Mr Chapman was a “dedicated SNP member” who would have resigned from a “very difficult position to be in”.

They added: “The treasurer position is not an easy one, and Douglas did it well.

“I don’t think he will have gone for the sake of it, but obviously something has happened here that has made it difficult for him.

“It’s a shame, but if he feels that strongly about it then he should of course step down.”

This comes following a complaint by independence activist Sean Clerkin claimed £600,000 had been diverted elsewhere instead of being sidelined for another referendum campaign.

Police Scotland said they are assessing the complaint but no investigation is currently underway while it is examined.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, said there was no such probe when asked about the police investigation.

He said: “In addition to that, the accounts are independently audited by external auditors and submitted to the Electoral Commission for scrutiny.

“There’s a huge amount of scrutiny of party finances that go on. That happens daily within the SNP and so it should.”

Scottish Labour deputy Jackie Baillie said Mr Chapman’s resignation raised a “growing number of questions” about the SNP’s finances.

In addition, Scottish Conservative chief whip Stephen Kerr said his resignation “speaks volumes”.

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