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by Louise Wilson
25 April 2023
Nicola Sturgeon insists SNP finance issues not cause of resignation

The former first minister plans to continue as an MSP | SST/Alamy

Nicola Sturgeon insists SNP finance issues not cause of resignation

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted issues over the SNP’s finances and the ongoing police investigation into the party are not the reasons she stood down as first minister.

Speaking to journalists in the Scottish Parliament, she said she “could not have anticipated in my worst nightmares” what was about to happen when she made the announcement in February.

While the Glasgow MSP confirmed she had not been questioned by police, she would not discuss the live investigation any further.

She added it was “frustrating” that she was “not able to give my version of what is going on just now”.

The former first minister also praised her successor Humza Yousaf for his handling of the issue.

She said: “I understand the view that some people might have that I knew this was all about to unfold and that's why I walked away. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I could not have anticipated in my worst nightmares what would have unfolded over the past few weeks.

“I believe the SNP – notwithstanding the real difficulties that surrounds the party just now – is in good shape and I think Humza will take it to even better things.”

Sturgeon also said she had never owner a burner phone.

And asked whether she was “surprised” when the police turned up at her door earlier this month to arrest her husband Peter Murrell – former chief executive of the SNP – she said “yes”.

Murrell was released without charge after being questioned.

On the police investigation generally, she added: “There are many questions that I would want to be able to answer, and in the fullness of time I hope I will answer, but it would be wrong and inappropriate for me to get into any detail that is related to what the police are currently investigating.”

The former FM said she planned to continue as an MSP.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the press conference was an “attempt downplay the extraordinary chaos” within the SNP.

Baillie added: “The same old secrecy and spin from Nicola Sturgeon won’t cut it anymore – we need real answers about the scandal and sleaze engulfing the SNP.”

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