Nicola Sturgeon’s husband arrested in SNP finances probe

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The Scottish National Party was thrown into crisis on Wednesday as the husband of former leader Nicola Sturgeon was arrested in an investigation into its finances and funding.

Detectives were questioning Peter Murrell as officers searched several properties.

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Police Scotland vans surrounded the couple’s home in South Lanarkshire and an investigation tent was set up in their garden.

The force is understood to be investigating the spending of funds earmarked for the Scottish independence campaign.


Mr Murrell, who married Ms Sturgeon in 2010, stepped down as chief executive of the SNP during the party’s recent leadership campaign, which was sparked by his wife’s resignation in February.

The arrest will be seen as a further blow to Scottish nationalists in their bid to see a Labor revival at the next election following Ms Sturgeon’s resignation.

He was replaced last week by Hamza Yusuf, the former health secretary for Scotland.

Police Scotland said a man, believed to be Mr Murrell, was in custody and a report was being prepared for the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service.

A police tent at the couple’s home in South Lanarkshire

, Getty Images

A force spokesman said: “A 58-year-old man has been arrested today as a suspect in connection with an ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party. The man remains in custody and being questioned by detectives from Police Scotland Going In the course of the investigation, the officers are also conducting searches at several addresses.

“This matter is an active one for the purposes of the Contempt of Courts Act 1981 and therefore the public is advised to exercise caution when discussing it on social media.”

Police vans near the headquarters of the Scottish National Party in Edinburgh

, the countryside

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labor deputy leader, said: “This is a profound development and the Police Scotland investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.

“We need Hamza Youssef and Nicola Sturgeon to immediately explain what they knew and when.”

The SNP issued a statement saying: “Obviously it would not be appropriate to comment on any live police investigation, but the SNP is co-operating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so.

“At its meeting on Saturday, the governing body of the SNP, the NEC, agreed a review of governance and transparency – which will be taken forward in the coming weeks.”

In 2021 police revealed that they were investigating allegations that the SNP misappropriated thousands of pounds raised for independence campaigns that had not yet taken place.

Last year detectives executed a warrant investigating £600,000 of “missing” money raised by the party and a “substantial” number of financial documents were handed over to police.

Activists accused the party of falsely claiming that the cash would only be spent on pro-independence campaigns.

In an emotional resignation announcement in February, Ms Sturgeon said she was standing down after eight years as first minister because the job “takes its toll on you and all around you”.

She said: “It is possible to give absolutely everything to such a job for so long.”

But she has denied that the police investigation into her husband had anything to do with her decision to leave.

Responding to Mr Murrell’s resignation as SNP chief executive on 18 March, he said he took “responsibility for the recent issue with the membership”.

She said: “He intended to stand down when there was a new leader, but I think he is right to announce that.”

Mr Murrell’s arrest could have a huge impact on the British political landscape as the SNP tries to prevent raids on key Scottish seats by Labor in the next general election.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is eyeing a path to power at Westminster that runs through Scotland and pollsters have predicted he could win 10 seats if Britain goes to the polls. Labor currently holds only one Scottish seat but has narrowed the SNP’s poll lead to 10 points.

New leader Mr Yusuf already faces an uphill task of reuniting his party and revitalizing his administration following his election as first minister, which has struggled with the delivery of public services and NHS waiting lists. The reason for the increase has come under criticism. Mr Yusuf has personally faced fierce criticism for his record as health secretary.

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband arrested in SNP finances probe

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