Steerpike Steerpike

Dead outnumber the living among SNP donors

Nicola Sturgeon (Credit: Getty images)

It’s a safe bet to say that, with her spectacular implosion at the beginning of the year, Nicola Sturgeon may have sounded the death knell for the SNP. But it appears that, when it comes to the independence party’s support base, that might be much more literal than anyone had imagined.

Analysis of SNP donation figures reveals that in the last five years of Sturgeon’s tenure a whopping 91 per cent of funds given to the party came from the wills of deceased supporters. In the five years to February of this year, bequests to the SNP raised £1.82 million for the party coffers. Overall, the party raised just £2 million in donations in that time period from living and deceased donors alike.

A deep dive by Politico into SNP donations over those five years shows that the party received donations of £50,000 or more from 13 supporters who had passed away. In contrast, over that same time period, the party received just one donation of a similar size from a living person.

A dead giveaway, er, for just how much the SNP’s popularity had dropped off under Sturgeon, these numbers also suggest support for the party has shifted to an older demographic.

With the SNP’s finances currently being investigated by the police and an exodus of paying party members over the last 18 months or so, new leader Humza Yousaf has a long road ahead to save his party from extinction. Finding a way to entice donations from living supporters would be a good place to start – Mr Steerpike is certain Yousaf will give it a good go. After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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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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