Nicola Sturgeon wants police probe into SNP finances 'to be over'

Nicola Sturgeon says she wants the police probe into the SNP finances ‘to be over’ as the former First Minister says the investigation and her subsequent arrest has been ‘difficult’ and ‘traumatic’

  • The former First Minister said the major investigation was ‘traumatic experience’
  • She was arrested as part of a police probe into the SNP’s funding and finances 

Nicola Sturgeon has admitted she is desperate for the police probe into SNP finances ‘to be over’.

The former First Minister opened up about the ‘traumatic experience’ of being at the centre of a major investigation.

She was speaking yesterday at her first major public event since being arrested as part of the police investigation into the SNP’s funding and finances. Ms Sturgeon was later released without charge.

She admitted she has found the process ‘difficult’ and said she has needed to find ‘depths of resilience I never knew I had’.

Ms Sturgeon sidestepped a question about the effect the probe had had on her marriage to former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, who was arrested before being released without charge pending further investigation.

Nicola Sturgeon has admitted she is desperate for the police probe into SNP finances ‘to be over’

Police officers attend the home of Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon on April 5

The former SNP leader said: ‘My marriage is not something anybody should worry about.’

Critics condemned her decision to take part in the 70-minute interview with broadcaster Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe while the Operation Branchform investigation continues.

READ MORE: Scottish police chief says his relationship with Nicola Sturgeon makes SNP finances probe ‘difficult’ but insists it will get to the facts

When asked if she was looking forward to putting the events of the past few months behind her, she said: ‘Of course I want it to be over as soon as possible and get on the other side of it.’

Told that the scene outside her home was like a ‘Brookside moment’ where officers were looking for bodies, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘It has obviously been a very difficult, traumatic experience.

‘I’m confident in my own position, I am absolutely certain I have done nothing wrong. Therefore, I need to and do trust in the process. The police are doing their job and therefore I have to have faith that everything they are doing in the process of that is justified.’

Ms Sturgeon insisted she was not warned about ‘what was going to unfold’, and said if she had been she would ‘not have been able to function’ in the period between announcing her resignation in February and quitting as First Minister at the end of March.

Asked when she first realised the search of her home was happening, she said: ‘When it happened.’

Pressed by Mr Dale on whether that was ‘literally the knock on the door’, she said: ‘Yes. I’m not going to go any further into that.’

Police officers work in the back garden of the home of Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the Scottish National Party, and Nicola Sturgeon

LBC presenter Iain Dale interviews former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP on Thursday

She said that when Mr Murrell was being questioned at a police station she was with her parents.

Although she said she ‘can’t remember everything that was going through my head’ that day, she added: ‘It was not the best day of my life, put it that way.’ But she again refused to say whether she was confident her husband has done nothing wrong – although she insisted people should not read anything into her response.

She said: ‘This is a serious process and therefore in that process I am not going to speak for anybody other than myself because I only can speak for myself.

‘In not answering that question, that is not to say yes or no. I am speaking for myself. I’m not going to try to speak for anybody else, whether it is my husband or anybody else.’

Asked if she discusses the issue with her husband, she said: ‘I am choosing when I can to try to talk about happier things.’

Mr Dale said: ‘I hate asking this question but I have to: what effect has it had on your marriage?’

Ms Sturgeon responded: ‘My marriage is not something anybody should worry about.’

She also said she still has not ruled out fostering a child in the future, but added: ‘Would it be fair to a child, even if I do get to live a bit more privately in the future, to bring a child into my kind of life and everything that goes with my life? I’d want to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons.’

Sturgeon was arrested but released without charge as part of the probe. Pictured: Police remain outside the home in Glasgow on April 6

Peter Murrell was arrested before being released without charge pending further investigation

Her appearance came just a day after it was revealed she had secured a book deal. She said the memoirs will cover current events and those from throughout her career and that it has been ‘therapeutic’ writing about them – and suggested she may write books ‘for the rest of my life’.

She also rejected a suggestion by her former mentor and predecessor Alex Salmond that they could have a reconciliation at some point after a spectacular breakdown in their relationship when complaints about his past conduct were investigated.

Ms Sturgeon said she would ‘be surprised if he meant it’, adding: ‘It is not something I want. I was very close to Alex for a long time, we achieved great things and I will always be proud of that… but over recent years he has revealed himself to be somebody I don’t want in my life.’

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said: ‘It’s hard to see the point of Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance – other than to attempt to garner sympathy – given that she had nothing new to say.

‘She stuck to her well-rehearsed position on the police – protesting her innocence but refusing to discuss it – and, typically, refused to acknowledge her appalling record as First Minister.

‘The publishers – who have reputedly paid a fortune for her memoirs – will be hoping for considerably more bang for their buck than this.’

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