SNP leader Humza Yousaf today faces demands to suspend Nicola Sturgeon following her dramatic arrest in the investigation into the party’s finances.
Mr Yousaf is being urged to take action by senior colleagues after his predecessor was questioned by police for about seven hours yesterday.
Ms Sturgeon – who has insisted she is ‘innocent of any wrongdoing’ and has been released without charge – became the third high-profile SNP figure to be detained in connection with alleged irregularities in the party’s finances.
Her husband Peter Murrell, the former SNP chief, has also been arrested and released pending further inquiries.
SNP leader Humza Yousaf faces demands today to suspend Nicola Sturgeon (file photo) following her dramatic arrest in the party’s finance inquiry
Former SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan said Ms Sturgeon should resign her party membership after arrest
SNP MP Angus MacNeil suggested on Twitter that Ms Sturgeon should now be suspended from the party
After Ms Sturgeon, who is still an MSP, was released from custody just after 5pm last night, she tweeted her “shock” and “distress” about the situation.
She said: “To find myself in the situation I found myself in today, when I am certain I have not committed an offense is both shocking and deeply disturbing.
“I know this ongoing investigation is difficult for people, and I am grateful that so many continue to show faith in me and appreciate that I would never do anything to harm the SNP or the country.”
Ms Sturgeon went on to say she was ‘innocent of any wrongdoing’ and added: ‘Of course, given the nature of this trial, I cannot go into details.
“However, I want to say this, and in the strongest possible terms. Innocence is not just a presumption to which I am entitled under the law. I know beyond any doubt that I am, in fact, innocent of any wrongdoing.’
Ms Sturgeon thanked her family and friends for giving them the ‘much needed strength’ at this time and said it would take a ‘day or two’ to process the latest development.
Finally, although I will take a day or two to process this latest development, I intend to be back in Parliament shortly, where I will continue to represent my constituents in Glasgow Southside to the best of my ability. them to it.
However, senior SNP figures have joined other parties in calling for Ms Sturgeon to be suspended from the party.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, former leader Ash Regan said: “The government needs to focus fully on delivering public services and delivering services to the people of Scotland during these difficult times.”
She said the investigation into the party’s finances could be a “distraction”, adding: “I think perhaps Nicola should consider voluntarily resigning her SNP membership until this can be clarified.”
Resigning would “reaffirm (Ms. Sturgeon’s) commitment to the party’s principles,” she added.
When asked whether Ms Sturgeon should be suspended from the party, Ms Regan said her successor as SNP leader and prime minister, Humza Yousaf, may already be considering such a move, adding: ‘Accountability in situations like this is very important.
Ms Regan, later speaking to Sky News, suggested that Ms Sturgeon was doing ‘damage’ to the SNP with her continued membership in the party.
‘The SNP has a code of conduct. One part of that is that members have to be very careful about their behavior so that they don’t harm the party,” she said.
“I believe that Nicola should consider whether it would be the right thing for her commitment to the party and also for the proper functioning of the government to resign her party membership.”
SNP MP Angus MacNeil tweeted: ‘This soap has gone far enough, Nicola Sturgeon has suspended others from the SNP for a lot less.
“Time for political distancing until the investigation ends anyway.
Scottish Conservatives chairman Craig Hoy said: ‘Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures – including Humza Yousaf – must cooperate fully with this police investigation and commit to giving full transparency on it.
“The SNP continues to be engulfed in turbidity and chaos.
Humza Yousaf must now show some leadership and suspend his predecessor from the SNP.’
Media gathered outside Ms Sturgeon’s home in Glasgow yesterday as she was questioned by officers
Scotland Police opened an investigation into the SNP’s finances in July 2021 following allegations that £600,000 raised for independence campaigns had been diverted elsewhere
Mr Yousaf is being urged to take action after his predecessor was questioned by police for about seven hours yesterday
Police opened an investigation into the SNP’s finances in July 2021 following allegations that £600,000 raised for a possible independence referendum campaign had been diverted elsewhere.
The concerns were first raised by the party’s former treasurer, Douglas Chapman MP, who resigned claiming he did not have enough information to get the job done.
August 2021 SNP accounts showed the money had been ‘earmarked’ through internal processes, although they did not officially record a separate amount.
It later emerged that the former Mr Murrell – Mrs Sturgeon’s husband – had loaned the party £100,000 in June 2021 to help with a ‘cash flow’ problem.
Mr Murrell and Colin Beattie MSP, former party treasurer, were arrested in April and released without charge pending further inquiries.
The house shared by Mr Murrell and Mrs Sturgeon was one of the addresses police raided next to the party’s Edinburgh office.
There was no police presence at the Uddingston property yesterday, but a police car occasionally drove past the house.
Members of the media had gathered outside the detached building, which appeared to be empty.