(The Guardian) Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to “fully cooperate” with police after the arrest of her husband, the SNP’s former chief executive, during an investigation into party finances.
Speaking publicly today for the first time since Peter Murrell’s arrest, the former first minister admitted that recent days had been “obviously difficult” in a brief statement outside the couple’s Glasgow home, which police had raided three days earlier.
However, the former SNP leader said she could not comment on the investigation into the spending of about £600,000 that had been earmarked for an independence campaign, “as much as there are things I may want to say”.
Asked by reporters if she had been questioned by police, Sturgeon said: “I haven’t, but I will fully cooperate with the police as and when they request that, if indeed they do.”
She declined to say whether detectives had indicated that they wish to question her. Murrell, 58, was released on Wednesday evening without charge pending further investigations.
Police searched their home for more than a day while uniformed colleagues simultaneously went through the SNP headquarters in Edinburgh.
Sturgeon, 52, said: “The last few days have been obviously difficult, quite dramatic at times, but I understand that is part of a process.”
She said that although she understood the scrutiny on her as a public figure, she said she was “also entitled to a little bit of privacy in my own home”.
Sturgeon, who dramatically resigned as SNP leader in February, added: “That’s really all I needed to say just now, other than I intend to get on with life and my job as you would expect me to.”
Hours earlier, SNP president Mike Russell admitted the party has been plunged into its biggest crisis in half a century. He also conceded that he does not think independence can be achieved “right now”.
In an interview with The Herald newspaper, Russell said: “In my 50-year association with the party this is the biggest and most challenging crisis we’ve faced, certainly while we’ve been in government. But I have an obligation to this party and the movement for Scottish independence that’s been such a massive part of my life for so long.
“I don’t think independence can be secured right now; we need to work towards some coordinated campaigning. But I think this is achievable. My main focus is how we can create a new Yes movement that allows for different visions but conducted in an atmosphere of mutual trust.”