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Nicola Sturgeon says her husband Peter Murrell was ‘right’ to step down as SNP CEO

Nicola Sturgeon has said her husband, Peter Murrell, was “right” to announce his resignation as SNP chief executive, amid intra-party demands for him to step down as rivals fight to replace her as leader.

Ms Sturgeon, 52, said her husband “obviously took responsibility for the recent problem with membership”, adding that he intended to step down when a new leader was in place.

She said: ‘I think I was right to make that announcement today.

“Peter has been a key part of the electoral success we have achieved in recent years and I know there will be recognition of that across the party.”

Murrell, 58, announced his resignation on Saturday after a group of members of the SNP’s governing body launched a bid to oust him.

According to reports, most members of the ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) were prepared to support a vote of no confidence against the Chief Executive if he did not come voluntarily.

The party is facing political turmoil after 52-year-old Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to step down as Prime Minister and leader of the SNP last month.

His resignation follows SNP media chief Murray Foote, who left on Friday in the midst of a row over party membership numbers.

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, has stepped down as chief executive of the SNP.

Mr. Murrell has been the Executive Director of the SNP for the past 20 years and married Ms. Sturgeon in 2010.

Mr. Murrell has been the Executive Director of the SNP for the past 20 years and married Ms. Sturgeon in 2010.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the media at her home today following the resignation of her husband Peter Murrell as chief executive of SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the media at her home today following the resignation of her husband Peter Murrell as chief executive of SNP.

Foote said that after speaking with party headquarters, he had issued responses to the media that they had “serious issues” and later decided there was a “serious impediment” to his role.

He had previously been reportedly told by Mr Murrell to deny claims that the SNP’s membership had dropped by 30,000 as “inaccurate” and “nonsense”, and was accused of inadvertently providing false membership numbers to a journalist.

On Thursday, the party revealed that membership as of February 15 this year stood at 72,186, after having fallen from 103,884 in 2021.

The numbers only emerged after the party was accused of a lack of integrity and transparency, including by those who were running to replace Ms Sturgeon.

There have also been multiple protests by SNP members that the leadership competition to determine Ms Sturgeon’s replacement was being overseen by her own husband.

Just before Mr Murrell announced his resignation, a senior member of the SNP’s governing body told Sky News: “The onus is on Peter… he shouldn’t have thrown a junior staff member under the bus.” .

Members have questioned Murrell’s role in the race, given his wife’s position as leader of the party, which will elect a new leader on March 27.

Murrell has been the party’s chief executive for more than 20 years.

Prior to that, Murrell had worked in the electoral office of former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

In a statement, Mr. Murrell said: “Responsibility for the SNP’s responses to media inquiries about our membership number rests with me as chief executive.

“While there was no intent to mislead, I accept that this has been the result.

“Therefore, I have decided to confirm my intention to step down as CEO with immediate effect.

‘I had not planned to confirm this decision until after the leadership election.

“However, as my future has become a campaign distraction, I have come to the conclusion that I should retire now, so that the party can concentrate fully on issues of Scotland’s future.

‘The electoral contest is in charge of the National Secretary and I have not had any role in it at any time.

‘I am very proud of what has been achieved in my time as chief executive and of the role I have played in ensuring the electoral success the party has enjoyed for nearly two decades.

The victories in the 2014 national elections are a testament to the skills of the dedicated and talented team at headquarters that I have been privileged to lead.

‘They give everything for the party and the independence cause and I thank them.

“I have worked for independence all my life and will continue to do so, albeit in a different capacity, until it is achieved, and I firmly believe that independence is now closer than ever.”

In a letter to Peter Murrell (pictured with Ms Sturgeon's wife), SNP CEO who is also Ms Sturgeon's husband, leadership hopeful Ash Regan said:

In a letter to Peter Murrell (pictured with Ms Sturgeon’s wife), the SNP CEO who is also Ms Sturgeon’s husband, leadership hopeful Ash Regan, said: “As SNP CEO It is your responsibility to ensure that the leadership election process is transparent, fair and equitable’

Ms Sturgeon spoke to the media about her husband's resignation outside their Glasgow home.

Ms Sturgeon spoke to the media about her husband’s resignation outside their Glasgow home.

Those running to replace Nicola Sturgeon were quick to hear the news.

Three candidates, Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf, are in the running to be the next champions of Scottish independence.

Voting is already underway and closes at 12:00 pm on March 27.

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes, 32, today acknowledged “extraordinary turbulence” in the party.

On Saturday, Ms Forbes issued an open letter to SNP members who had not yet cast their vote.

But she herself has been beset by problems after she told the media that she would have voted against allowing gay marriage because of her conservative religious beliefs.

She also said that she believed that having a child without being married was “wrong”.

Forbes later apologized, saying it would not seek to overturn laws already won.

She told members on Saturday: ‘Many of you, like me, will be hurt and bewildered by the extraordinary turmoil in our party over the past few days.

“If anyone had any doubts that this must be a turnaround election for the SNP, recent events and the resignations confirm the central message of my campaign: Continuity will not be enough.”

He continued: ‘I love the SNP and am passionate about Scotland’s future as an independent, fair and wealthy nation.

‘Some years ago, scandal rocked the SNP and I was asked to step up and deliver the budget with only a few hours’ notice.

‘I did it, for my party and for the people of this country. That is the mark of who I am. I will not walk away from difficult times.

‘Instead, I find the solution and give it my all.

“I have great respect for the other two candidates, but I am the only candidate who can really make a difference as Prime Minister.”

Ms Forbes, who is on maternity leave from her government role as Finance Secretary, has pledged to reform the party and has pledged to carry out an independent audit of membership and finances.

Ash Regan, 49, one of the other candidates in the race, tweeted about the report that NEC members were calling on Mr Murrell to leave.

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan hope to become the next leader of the SNP

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan hope to become the next leader of the SNP

Upon hearing the news of her resignation, she said: ‘Eight years ago was the point where it was unacceptable to have the party leader’s husband as chief executive.

‘I am heartened to see the party’s democratic foundation now asserting its legitimate role.

‘The SNP is more than capable of surviving this, as long as we stay true to our roots and uphold the values ​​of our members.

‘Responsibility, transparency, modernity and accessibility are our foundations.

‘Whenever we believe we have reached our capacity to overcome a challenge, we can look to our guiding lights and know that our capacity can be limitless. I will lead a stronger SNP, together for #Scotland.’

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who backs Ash Regan’s leadership campaign, said “if anyone was in any doubt” the party needed a “reset” then “the events of the last few days have shown it.”

‘Winning the elections is not enough. What matters is what you do with the wins,” he said on Twitter.

‘Integrity matters. Our party and our country can and will do better than this.’

Leader candidate Humza Yousaf, currently Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, addressed Mr Foote’s departure on Friday.

He said Foote “has been exceptional since joining SNP’s media team” and that he will “be greatly missed.”

Mr Yousaf added: ‘The reform of our headquarters operations has been a key part of my campaign. With new party leadership, should come a new approach to the operation of our headquarters.”

It hit the headlines this week after awkward mistake saw him ask female Ukrainian refugees where ‘all the men’ were – only to be told that they were all fighting Russia.

Yousaf praised the outgoing chief executive as “an outstanding servant of the independence movement.”

The Health Secretary said: ‘I agree with Peter that it is time for him to move on and usher in a new leader to appoint a new CEO as passionate about the SNP and the cause of independence as he has been .

“With less than ten days to go in this leadership race, it is vital that we all focus on the policies and vision we have for the party, the movement and the country.”

Meanwhile, the SNP’s political opponents stressed that the party’s finances are still under investigation.

Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy MSP said: ‘A fish rots from the head down, and the same applies to the SNP.

Peter Murrell’s resignation is long overdue but there are still serious questions for him to answer, most notably about the £600,000 “missing” party accounts.

“The brutal and chaotic election of the SNP leadership appears to have been the tipping point that forced the Prime Minister’s husband to resign before he was pressured.”

Michael Russell, the current party chairman who previously served as chief executive and minister to the Scottish government, will take over the operation of the SNP headquarters until a permanent replacement for Mr Murrell is found.

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