SNP MP calls for Sturgeon suspension after party finance probe arrest

Angus MacNeill branded the latest developments in Operation Branchform a 'soap opera' and called for 'political distance' from Sturgeon until the probe was completed.

SNP MP joins Conservatives in call for Nicola Sturgeon to be suspended after arrest over party finance probe STV News

UPDATE: Nicola Sturgeon ‘shocked and distressed’ by arrest in SNP finance probe

An SNP MP has appeared to call for Nicola Sturgeon to be suspended from the party following her arrest amid the probe into its finances.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar representative Angus MacNeill branded the latest developments in Operation Branchform a “soap opera” and called for “political distance” until the probe was concluded.

The former First Minister was detained by Police Scotland on Sunday before being taken for questioning.

A spokesperson for the party said it was “co-operating” but MacNeil has suggested Sturgeon should be sin-binned until the investigation is officially closed.

“This soap-opera has gone far enough,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Nicola Sturgeon suspended others from the SNP for an awful lot less!

“Time for political distance until the investigation ends either way.”

That was echoed by Conservatives chairman Craig Hoy, who called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to “show leadership” and suspend Sturgeon from the party.

“Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures – including Humza Yousaf – must cooperate fully with this police investigation and commit to full transparency surrounding it,” he said.

“The SNP continue to be engulfed in murkiness and chaos. This extremely serious matter is continuing to escalate and the result is that the SNP are totally distracted at the worst possible time. This is the time they should be focused on the real priorities facing the people of Scotland, such as the cost-of-living crisis, fixing our NHS and strengthening our economy.”

Sturgeon’s arrest is the third in the police investigation into how £600,000 of funding raised by the SNP for campaigning has been spent.

On April 5, her husband and the party’s former chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested as officers carried out searches at a number of properties including the couple’s home in Glasgow and the SNP Headquarters in Edinburgh.

Murrell was released without charged after nearly 12 hours of questioning “pending further investigation”.

On April 18, the SNP’s treasurer Colin Beattie MSP was taken into custody and questioned before he was also released without charge pending further investigation.

Labour shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Ian Murray MP, added: “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.

“The same culture that leads to police tents in front gardens created the deeply dysfunctional government that is currently failing Scots.

“Humza Yousaf must urgently come clean on what he knows – the people of Scotland deserve answers.” 

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