The SNP held meetings with the controversial data harvesting firm Cambridge Analytica, according to a former director at the company.
Brittany Kaiser made the revelation during questioning from one of the party’s own MPs at a Commons committee.
Brendan O’Hara, a Nationalist MP, was caught off guard by the claim that the SNP were involved in “pitches and negotiations” with Cambridge Analytica.
Ms Kaiser said they had met with “UK parties in the past such as the SNP”.
“I believe that there were meetings that took place in London where individuals came down from Edinburgh to visit us at our Mayfair headquarters,” she told the committee.
“And then further meetings were undertaken in Edinburgh, near the parliament.”
The SNP branded the company a “bunch of cowboys” and insisted there had only been one meeting, with an “external consultant” representing the party.
Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly accessing the data of millions of Facebook users, which was then allegedly used to influence the US presidential election and Brexit referendum.
Watch as the SNP gets embroiled in the row over Cambridge Analytica pic.twitter.com/7JUwgOVkSK
— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) April 17, 2018
The SNP has repeatedly laid into the Conservatives for its links with the firm.
Conservative party donors are among the investors of CA’s parent company, the SCL Group.
The Tories have admitted meeting CA under the previous leadership, but said they rejected the pitch.
Downing Street said they had previously held three contracts with the SCL Group, but said they were concluded before the data harvesting issues arose.
Two of those SCL contracts began under the previous Labour administration, the Guardian reported.
An SNP spokeswoman said: “The SNP has never worked with Cambridge Analytica.
“An external consultant had one meeting in London.
“His assessment was that they were ‘a bunch of cowboys’, which turned out to be true. No further meetings were held.”