SNP auditors quit amid Peter Murrell's arrest in police investigation

Accountants Johnston Carmichael's decision to resign came after reviewing its client portfolio and existing resources and commitments, STV News understands.

SNP auditors quit amid Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell’s arrest in police investigation Getty Images

The firm that audits the Scottish National Party’s finances has quit.

Accountants Johnston Carmichael’s decision to resign came before Wednesday after reviewing its client portfolio and existing resources and commitments, STV News understands.

The SNP’s former chief executive and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell was arrested on Wednesday before being released without charge in connection with an investigation into the funding and finances of the party.

The SNP Headquarters in Edinburgh and the former first minister’s home in Glasgow were among properties searched by officers.

A forensic tent was erected outside the former first minister's home in Glasgow.STV News

An party spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Johnston Carmichael will not be providing audit services to the SNP this year.

“The national treasurer is undertaking a tendering process for alternative provision, and we have advised the Electoral Commission of that position”.

The party must present its accounts to the Electoral Commission by July 7 or potentially face sanctions.

A spokesperson for Johnston Carmichael said: “As a regulated organisation, we adhere to our obligations on client confidentiality and do not discuss client business.”

Police Scotland and the Crown Office are investigating how £600,000 of funding raised by the SNP for campaigning has been spent.

Police left Sturgeon and Murrell’s home on Thursday evening following a search that had gone on for more than 29 hours.

Nicola Sturgeon with her husband Peter Murrell at Broomhouse Community Hall in Ballieston on December 2019.Getty Images

Officers dismantled a large tent that had been erected over the property’s front door and removed police tape from around the front garden.

Detectives arrived at the house at 7.35am on Wednesday while the former first minister was still inside.

Murrell was arrested and questioned for nearly 12 hours before being released without charge “pending further investigation”.

The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

Political parties must send the Electoral Commission their annual accounts.

Political parties with income or expenditure of more than £250,000 are required by law to independently audit their accounts and include this report in their submission.

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said: “The extraordinary events of recent weeks leave the SNP with big questions to answer and their auditors’ resignation only adds to the growing number of issues they must address.”

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