Sturgeon says it is ‘incredibly difficult’ after husband charged by police

Former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon described matters as “incredibly difficult” after her husband was charged by police as part of a probe into SNP finances.

Ms Sturgeon appealed for privacy as she spoke briefly to journalists outside the home in Glasgow that she shares with Peter Murrell.

The 59-year-old former chief executive of the SNP was on Thursday charged by police in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds.

The development – described by First Minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf as “a really serious matter indeed” – came more than a year after Murrell was originally arrested as part of the investigation known as Operation Branchform.

On Thursday morning, Murrell was re-arrested by Police Scotland officers, with the force confirming that evening that he had been charged as part of the probe.

Speaking to media outside the couple’s home in Glasgow on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said the situation was “incredibly difficult”.

She said: “I know you’ve got jobs to do but can I ask you to maybe give my neighbours some peace.

“There is nothing going to be happening here.”

Asked how the last 24 hours had been, the former SNP leader, who married Murrell in 2010, added: “It’s incredibly difficult, but that’s not the main issue.

“I can’t say anymore, I’m not going to say any more.”

Humza Yousaf insisted he is focused on his job as Scotland’s First Minister. (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Humza Yousaf insisted he is focused on his job as Scotland’s First Minister. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

With Murrell now having resigned his membership of the SNP, Mr Yousaf gave his reaction to what he described as “serious, serious developments”.

The SNP leader said: “As per the police statement, it is a very serious development.

“As per the police statement, it’s an allegation of embezzlement from the party. That’s really serious indeed.”

Mr Yousaf added: “Many people in the SNP, right across Scottish politics, will be shocked by the news.”

The First Minister said he only became aware the former party official had been charged “when the news broke” adding he found out “just like anybody else who was watching the news at the time”.

He stressed the SNP would “allow the police to conduct their inquiries, conclude their inquiries” in what he said was an “ongoing investigation”.

Meanwhile, he insisted he was focused on his job running the Scottish Government, saying: “Police, the Crown have a job to do, just as I have a job to do as First Minister.

“That job, of course, is ensuring that I support business, that I help households throughout the cost-of-living crisis, that I help to cut waiting times in the NHS, that I advance the cause of independence.

“So that’s the job that you can imagine I’m focused on.”