‘He’s running in the contest to replace his wife’: SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan attacks the husband of Nicola Sturgeon (the party’s chief executive) as she reiterates ‘conflict of interest’ fears in the race to become the first leader
- Ash Regan reiterates ‘conflict of interest’ fears in SNP leadership race
- She criticizes Nicola Sturgeon’s husband’s role as chief executive of the party.
SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan today reiterated her fears of a “conflict of interest” in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon.
The former Scottish government minister criticized the role of Mrs Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, as chief executive of the SNP.
“He is effectively running the contest to replace his wife,” Ms Regan said, repeating her demand for an “independent third-party company” to oversee the battle for the lead.
Ms Regan is up against Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in the race to succeed Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister.
The contest has grown increasingly fierce, as the rivals have brutally attacked each other in live television debates over the past week.
Ash Regan criticized the role of Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, as chief executive of the SNP.
Murrell, the husband of outgoing SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, has been accused of “effectively running the contest to replace his wife”.
Ms Regan is widely seen as the outsider in the fray, while Mr Yousaf, a close ally of Ms Sturgeon, has been branded the “continuity candidate”.
He is also accused of having the support of the SNP ‘party machine’ after a number of high-level figures pledged their support for his campaign.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on the Sunday show, Regan compared Murrell’s role as SNP chief executive to a situation where Carrie Johnson could have counted the votes in last summer’s Tory leadership race to replace Boris. Johnson.
“Well, sure enough, he’s entering the contest to replace his wife and if you think about it another way, you know it would be like Carrie counting the votes for Boris’s successor,” he said.
“I think a lot of people would think that would be pretty unusual. I think there is a conflict of interest here.
“My campaign team has said that we think an independent third-party company should be running the contest and we’ve also asked for a neutral observer, just to make sure everything is in order.
‘We have to be careful in this too. We are the largest party in Scotland and the person who wins this contest will not only be the leader of the SNP, but will also become the country’s Prime Minister. This is very significant.
“It is very important and it is important both for the members of the SNP and for the country in general that there is trust in this process, that everything is correct and transparent.”
Despite being the outsider in the SNP leadership contest, Ms Regan insisted that she was “in this contest to win it”.
“At the moment we understand that a large part of the militancy remains undecided, it is a very short contest,” he added.
“But a lot of people have contacted me recently to say they think I’m the only hope for the SNP.”
Last month, it was confirmed that all three – Ms Forbes, Ms Regan and Mr Yousaf – have reached the threshold to formally enter the leadership race.
Some 100,000 SNP members will be able to start voting for their preferred candidate on March 13.
Voting will close at noon on March 27 with the result expected later that day.