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by Louise Wilson
18 April 2023
Humza Yousaf rules out suspension of Colin Beattie and Peter Murrell

Humza Yousaf rules out suspension of Colin Beattie and Peter Murrell

Humza Yousaf has refused to suspend Colin Beattie from the SNP following his arrest on Tuesday morning.

Several opposition parties have called for suspension of Beattie and former chief executive Peter Murrell as both have been questioned by police in connection to an investigation into party finances.

Murrell was released without charge.

Speaking to journalists this afternoon, the First Minister said it was “really important” that people were “presumed innocent until proven guilty”.

He added: “Of course, if they are guilty, then I would take the appropriate action – so whether that’s suspension, or indeed going even further than that. But it's really important that due process takes place and as I say, due process for me is incredibly important.”

Asked whether that meant they would remain members of the SNP even if charged, Yousaf said he was “happy to look at the circumstances at that point”.

He added: “We may well have to take that course of action, but again, we are getting ahead of ourselves. There has been questioning under caution, which is not insignificant, but no charges as far as I'm aware – in case I've missed anything – no charges have been brought forward as we speak.”

The First Minister also said he would not be speaking to former first minister Nicola Sturgeon about the police investigation.

He said he hadn’t spoken to her for a few weeks, though “might catch up for a coffee here and there” in the future.

“Certainly one thing Nicola and I will not be talking about will be the police investigation. That would be wholly inappropriate. Nicola would know that. I know that. What we won't be talking about is a live police investigation,” he said.

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