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SNP’s ‘urgent plea’ to house campaigning Westminster staffers

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Oh dear. No one party appears to be enjoying an especially slick campaign at present, but north of the border the SNP seems particularly down on its luck. As Mr S noted on Monday, the Nats are not exactly swimming in cash at the moment — the party is struggling to bring donations in while the police probe into its finances remains ongoing — and separatist candidate have been forced to plead with the public for help with their campaign Crowdfunders.

Now the Nats are faced with a fresh problem: where to house the party’s central Westminster team, who are loyally trekking north to help with election efforts. Well, if the London-based campaigners had high hopes for hotel bookings, they can forget it. It transpires that an ‘urgent plea’ has been sent out to the SNP’s Holyrood group, seen by the Scottish Daily Mail, that begs MSPs to ‘provide accommodation (spare room or flat) to staffers from Westminster for six weeks’. It hardly screams ‘organised’ and Westminster staffers themselves are rather unimpressed by the situation. ‘I couldn’t think of anything worse than staying with an MSP after spending a whole day campaigning,’ one staffer complained to Mr S, while another admitted the fiasco was ‘not ideal’. Indeed. It’s certainly one way of living and breathing politics…

Meanwhile the SNP’s Dear Leader seems undecided on how frequently she will appear on the campaign trail, possibly pre-empting snubs that may come her way. Nicola Sturgeon — who remains under investigation as part of Operation Branchform — was rather, er, ambivalent when quizzed about her role in the SNP’s election work over the next six weeks. In a response that was more reserved than raring to go, the former first minister said she would support candidates where necessary ‘from time to time’ and told journalists asking whether she would campaign alongside current FM John Swinney that ‘John will have his own programme’. She’s hardly the picture of enthusiasm…

But with yet another poll out this week showing Labour four points ahead of the SNP in Scotland, Mr S doesn’t blame Sturgeon for not having much to smile about…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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