Sturgeon's separatist enemies share 'sad' news of her husband's arrest
Grin when you’re winning: Alex Salmond can’t contain his glee as Sturgeon’s separatist enemies share news of her husband’s arrest – with her successor Humza Yousaf denying claims the police probe into SNP was behind her decision to quit
Nicola Sturgeon’s enemies in the separatist community were quick to jump on news of her husband’s arrest today.
Peter Murrell, 58, was held by police after raids on their Glasgow home and SNP headquarters in Edinburgh.
Detectives are investigating what happened to more than £500,000 donated to the SNP to fund a second independence referendum campaign that never materialised.
The news was shared on Twitter by SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who had quit as a Westminster frontbencher over Ms Sturgeon’s controversial gender law reforms.
She backed Ash Regan to replace her but Humza Yousaf was chosen instead.
Former SNP leader and first minister Alex Salmond, who fell out with Ms Sturgeon over an investigation into his behaviour in which he was cleared of wrongdoing, also came out of the woodwork swiftly this morning as the news broke.
He professed himself ‘sad’ as he walked smiling into the BBC’s Edinburgh office, just 25 metres away from the headquarters of the SNP.
Alex Salmond professed himself ‘sad’ as he walked smiling into the BBC’s Edinburgh office, just 25 metres away from the headquarters of the SNP
The news was shared on Twitter by SNP MP Joanna Cherry. She quit as a frontbencher at Westminster over Ms Sturgeon’s gender law reforms
Mr Yousaf this morning denied the arrest was the reason behind Ms Sturgeon’s resignation
‘It’s a very live investigation, so I couldn’t really comment on the specifics,’ said Mr Salmond, ‘I led the SNP for a long time, so I’m very sad about what’s happening to it, and indeed what it’s become.
‘We should remember the cause of independence, and the case for it, has never been stronger and that’s what myself and Alba are concentrating on putting forward.’
Mr Salmond is now leader of the pro-independence Alba party.
It came as Mr Yousaf was forced this morning to defend her departure as SNP leader and First Minister, insisting it was nothing to do with the police investigation.
Ms Sturgeon’s decision to quit last month, with the SNP ahead in the polls, took Scottish politics by surprise. Weeks earlier she had used an interview to say she had ‘plenty in the tank.
Mr Yousaf this morning denied the arrest was the reason for her resignation.
‘Nicola’s legacy stands on its own,’ he said. ‘Nicola’s legacy, whether it’s in relation to care-experienced young people and keeping The Promise, whether it’s on tackling child poverty, there are many legacies she can stand on, and I think that’s what she’ll be judged on.’
He added: ‘I believe her very much when she says how exhausted she was. I think anybody who watched her over the course of the pandemic during those daily briefings, day after day, I think anybody could understand how exhausting that is.
‘So, no, I don’t think this is the reason why Nicola Sturgeon stood down.’
He said the party’s national executive committee had agreed to a review of governance and transparency.
Asked if the arrest would hurt the SNP in the polls or at a potential by-election, he said: ‘It certainly doesn’t do us any good. People will have questions, there will be some concerns. Our party membership will have concerns too.
‘What I can commit to as party leader is that we want to be absolutely transparent.’
When she announced her resignation, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Part of serving well is to know when the time is right to make way for someone else, and when the time comes to have the courage to do so.
‘In my head and in my heart I know that time is now, that it is right for me, my party and the country.’
Ms Sturgeon insisted her decision came from duty and was not linked to ‘short-term’ issues. She said she had been wrestling with whether ‘carrying on’ was right for her and Scotland.
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