'Incredibly difficult': Nicola Sturgeon speaks after husband is charged with embezzlement

The former first minister spoke as she left the home she shares with Peter Murrell in Glasgow on Friday.

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is an “incredibly difficult” time for her personally after her husband was charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the SNP.

The former first minister spoke as she left the home she shares with Peter Murrell in Glasgow on Friday afternoon.

“It’s incredibly difficult, but you know, that’s not the main issue here,” she said.

“I cant say anymore, I’m not going to say anymore.”

The former SNP leader said she didn’t think she was “revealing any secrets” by saying how difficult a time it was and told reporters outside her home that “there’s nothing going to happen down here”.

Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell.Getty Images

Getting into her car, the newly qualified driver asked not to be distracted as she was driving away.

Police Scotland said the Murrell, who was the party’s chief executive for 22 years, was taken into custody at 9.13am on Thursday and questioned by detectives for hours.

Shortly before 7.30pm, police confirmed the 59-year-old had been charged and a report would be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

The former SNP chief executive was being held at Falkirk Police Station but was released from custody shortly after 7pm.

It comes after Scotland’s First Minister said many will be “shocked” after his party’s former chief executive was charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the SNP.

Humza Yousaf said the announcement yesterday that Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell had been re-arrested and charged by Police Scotland was a “serious, serious development”.

“Peter has been charged, where the allegation of embezzlement from party funds, and that’s a really serious matter indeed,” he said.

“Many people from the SNP, right across Scottish politics, will be shocked by the news.

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell arrives home after embezzlement charge

“This is an ongoing investigation, police, the Crown, have a job to do, just as I have a job to do as First Minister.”

Yousaf said he first found out about the charge against Murrell on the news when it broke on Thursday evening.

An SNP spokesperson said: “While this development will come as a shock, the police investigation remains ongoing and it would, therefore, be inappropriate to make any comment.”

Murrell was previously arrested as a suspect on April 5, 2023.

On that day, there was a large police presence around the home in Glasgow which he shares with his wife, the former first minister.

Murrell was released without charge, pending further investigation, the same day.

His arrest was the first of three as part of Operation Branchform – Police Scotland’s major investigation into the spending of more than £600,000 in donations for independence campaigning.

On April 18, party treasurer Colin Beattie was arrested and interviewed by police before being released pending further enquiries. Beattie resigned his position.

Former first minister and SNP leader Sturgeon was arrested on June 11.

She “voluntarily” arranged with Police Scotland to be questioned as part of the investigation into the party’s finances, a spokesperson said.

Like the other party figures, she was released without charge pending further investigation.

Scottish Labour MSP and depute leader Jackie Baillie said it was “deeply concerning development”.

She told STV News: “Police Scotland need to be able to do their job without any interference from politicians or anyone else for that matter.”

Scottish Tory MSP Craig Hoy added: “This is a very serious development in the investigation into the SNP’s finances and it’s vital all SNP politicians and staff fully co-operate with this probe.

“This has been going on now for nearly three years and that’s why the SNP must commit to full openness and transparency.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The matter remains active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

“As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further at this time.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Senior professional prosecutors from COPFS and an Advocate Depute are working with police on this ongoing investigation.

“It is standard practice that any case regarding politicians is dealt with by prosecutors without the involvement of the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General. All Scotland’s prosecutors act independently of political interference.

“As is routine, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not comment in detail on their conduct.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code