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Nicola Sturgeon released without charge, pending further investigation

11 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Former First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Photo Jane Barlow PA Images

Nicola Sturgeon has been released without charge pending further investigation after she was arrested as part of a probe into the SNP’s finances.

The former SNP leader and first minister was arrested on Sunday “by arrangement” with Police Scotland.

The force said she was arrested at 10.09am and was released from custody at 5.24pm.

A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

The former first minister’s arrest comes after her husband Peter Murrell was arrested in April.

Mr Murrell and MSP Colin Beattie, who was SNP treasurer at the time, were both released without charge pending further inquiry.

As well as the arrests, searches were carried out at a number of properties, including Mr Murrell and Ms Sturgeon’s home – where a police tent was erected in the garden – and SNP headquarters in Edinburgh.

The investigation – dubbed Operation Branchform – began in 2021.

Diverted

It was opened after allegations £600,000 raised for campaigning towards Scottish independence was diverted elsewhere.

Ms Sturgeon announced her resignation as first minister in February this year, saying it was not related to short-term pressures but because she knew in her “head and heart” the time was right to go.

Her husband stepped down as party chief executive during the leadership contest that followed.

Humza Yousaf succeeded Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister.

The SNP’s governing body, the national executive committee, agreed that a review of transparency and governance in the party should take place.

Ms Sturgeon continues to be the MSP for Glasgow Southside.

Mr Beattie was arrested and interviewed later in April.

Deeply distressing

In a statement after being released, Ms Sturgeon said: “To find myself in the situation I did today when I am certain I have committed no offence is both a shock and deeply distressing.

“I know that this ongoing investigation is difficult for people, and I am grateful that so many continue to show faith in me and appreciate that I would never do anything to harm either the SNP or the country.

“Obviously, given the nature of this process, I cannot go into detail.

“However, I do wish to say this, and to do so in the strongest possible terms.

“Innocence is not just a presumption I am entitled do in law. I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.

“To the many people who have sent messages of support over these past difficult weeks — including since today’s news broke — thank you for your kindness.

“Thank you also to my close circle of family and friends who are giving me much-needed strength at this time.

“Finally, while I will take a day or two to process this latest development, I intend to be back in Parliament soon where I will continue to represent my Glasgow Southside constituents to the very best of my ability.”

Cooperating

Following Ms Sturgeon’s arrest, a spokeswoman for the SNP said: “These issues are subject to a live police investigation.

“The SNP have been co-operating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so, however it is not appropriate to publicly address any issues while that investigation is ongoing.”

Rival parties also commented on the arrest, with Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray saying: “This is a deeply concerning development and the Police Scotland investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.

“For too long, a culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester at the heart of the SNP.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “It’s fair to say that today’s events will have huge ramifications both for the SNP and the future of Scottish politics.”


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Riki
Riki
10 months ago

No surprise. Knew this would happen when Carlo came to power. How about we Have the same effort looking into the Tories and Labour? Nah, ofcourse not. They being Pro Union and all that.

Llyn
Llyn
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

There’s no Unionist controlled police investigation into the SNP and there’s no remainer plot to undermine Boris Johnson. Both conspiracy theories are as bad as one another.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

With that said. Why wasn’t Tory ministers arrested in the same manner as Nicola Sturgeon was today when it was found out they broke their own COVID rules? Members of the public were arrested, handcuffed and interrogated for hours before being fined. Also, the police were guarding Downing Street at the time. Either they were told by officials to turn a blind eye or didn’t see anything.. I think the former not the latter. Surely they must have witnessed government aids ferrying alcohol into No 10, and heard & saw singing drunken revellers , some who were vomitting, playing on… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 months ago

If it is found that Nicola Sturgeon has a case to answer then fair enough but what I’m hoping for here is that a few days will pass and we are then told she does not have a case to answer and is released without charge. That will be enough time for an army of hypocrisy spewing Tories and their big mouthed slurry pumps to fall over themselves in hilariously humiliating fashion and we can once again sneer down at them in their self built cess pit from our higher moral ground. I think that sounds suitably pompous don’t you?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I agree. If proven guilty Sturgeon , husband, and Treasurer should face the consequences of her/their actions. Pity the likes of teflon Tory Boris Johnson evades justice and answers to no one. He never experienced the indignity of arrest when questioned about partygate or held for hours in custody. Helps to have friends & family in high places. But something doesn’t seem right to me? Say this case is dragged out right up to the next Westminster general election in 2024. It’s likely the SNP could lose seats to Labour & Liberals. Then Nicola Sturgeon is found innocent of all… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Woah! She’s been released without charge already leaving no time for Tory hypocrisy spew.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 months ago

The timing of this action is highly suspicious and likely done by the British state to dirty further former FM Nicola Sturgeon’s character and to electorally damage the SNP taking not only the focus away from PM Rishy Sunak’s current electoral woes with the three recent party resignations, one including former PM Boris Johnson. Strange, I never saw the police once arrest Boris Johnson or corden off his flat to search for evidence as done with the firmer Scottish First Minister’s property with all his corrupt activities? Why I say this. Earlier in the year Nicola Sturgeon’s husband was arrested… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Y Cymro
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

All agreed but the trouble is because they live in that cess pit I mentioned, they have all the ammunition they need to make poo pies all day and hurl them at everyone else.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Apparently, this evening after being interrogated for 7 hrs Nicola Sturgeon has been released without charge pending further enquiries, I always assumed under law you are innocent until proven guilty? Obviously not.

Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
10 months ago

Let’s hope former prime minister Tony Blair will soon be arrested for war crimes.

Connoisseur of Understatement
Connoisseur of Understatement
9 months ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

The High Court has ruled that the crime of aggression does not exist in English law. A useful precedent for Vladimir Putin.

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