Murrell released without charge as Sturgeon vows to cooperate with Police

Murrell released without charge as Sturgeon vows to cooperate with Police

Nicola Sturgeon will “fully co-operate if required” with police after her husband was arrested and then released without charge as part of an investigation into the SNP’s finances, her spokesperson said.

The former Scottish first minister said she had “no prior knowledge of Police Scotland’s action or intentions” after Peter Murrell was arrested and later released “pending further investigation” on Wednesday.

The arrest related to a long-running police investigation into the spending of about £600,000 which was earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.

Mr Murrell, Ms Sturgeon’s husband since 2010, stepped down as the SNP’s chief executive last month following a controversy about misleading information being given to journalists over the party’s membership numbers.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on a live police investigation.

“Nicola Sturgeon had no prior knowledge of Police Scotland’s action or intentions.

“Ms Sturgeon will fully co-operate with Police Scotland if required, however at this time no such request has been made.”

On Wednesday evening, a Police Scotland spokesperson said Mr Murrell had been released without charge.

They said: “A 58-year-old man who was arrested as a suspect earlier today in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party, has been released without charge pending further investigation.

“The man was questioned by Police Scotland detectives after he was arrested at 7.45am. He was released from custody at 6.57pm.

“Officers also carried out searches today at a number of addresses as part of the investigation.

“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

“The matter remains active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

“As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”

It comes after a blue tent was set up in the front garden of the Glasgow house belonging to Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell early on Wednesday morning, with police taping the area off.

In the afternoon, officers could be seen in the back garden, one of whom was carrying two spades, although it is unclear why the officer had the tools.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, who took over from Ms Sturgeon last week, earlier described the arrest as a “difficult day” with the party.

He told broadcasters on Wednesday: “My reaction, as you’d imagine, much like anybody involved in the SNP, is that this is a difficulty for the party.

“But, again, I’d just reiterate and emphasise it’s so important for me not to comment on a live police investigation and be seen to prejudice that in any way, shape or form.”

He continued: “I think there’ll be concern from the public but, again, there is a live police investigation under way and we will wait to see what comes at the conclusion of that police investigation.”

Ms Sturgeon unexpectedly announced her resignation as first minister on February 15, although she said this was not in relation to short-term pressures but because she knew in her “head and heart” that the time was right to go.

During her Bute House press conference, she was asked if she expected to be interviewed in relation to the investigation into the party’s finances and said she did not.

During the SNP leadership contest to pick a new leader, Mr Murrell announced he was stepping down from the role he had held for more than 20 years.

It came during a row over the party’s membership numbers which had dropped by about 30,000 in the last year, something the party had previously denied.

In December, it emerged that Mr Murrell had loaned the SNP £100,000 in June 2021, but the party said this was to help with a “cash flow” issue after the election that year.

Ms Sturgeon said at the time: “The resources that he lent the party were resources that belonged to him.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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