Yousaf tells independence rally 'last 48 hours have been tough'

The First Minister referenced ex-SNP chief executive Peter Murrell being charged in connection with embezzlement this week.

Humza Yousaf tells independence rally in Glasgow ‘last 48 hours have been tough’ amid Murrell charge STV News

The First Minister told a crowd of independence supporters “the last 48 hours have been tough”, after former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell was charged in connection with embezzling party funds.

On Saturday, thousands of people turned out for the Believe in Scotland march, which began at Kelvin Way and ended at George Square in Glasgow.

Accompanied by bagpipers and drummers, Humza Yousaf carried a banner at the head of the march alongside Line of Duty star Martin Compston.

Members of the SNP and the Scottish Greens took part in the march and subsequent rally, despite concerns over a vote on the future of the Bute House Agreement.

Forged in 2021, it saw the two parties go into government together, with Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater made ministers.

However, this week the party’s members reacted furiously to the Scottish Government ditching some of its climate targets as well as the decision by the NHS to pause the prescription of puberty blockers in Scotland for new patients.

Greens MSP Ross Greer, who also attended the rally, said it was “critical” the party remains in Government to benefit ‘people and planet”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf addressed the crowd, and said he remains committed to the Bute House Agreement.

He also referred to the arrest of Murrell, 59, the husband of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon. He was charged with embezzlement on Thursday after a police investigation, Operation Branchform, which went on for more than a year.

He said the past couple of days had been “tough” and “shocking” for those within the independence movement but said it was not “finished” as opponents had claimed.

The First Minister said: “The last 48 hours have been tough. They have been a shock for those of us in the independence movement and the SNP.

“Let me say this: You can’t always control what happens in life but what you can choose is how you react.

“When it comes to obstacles that come our way, just because obstacles are thrown in our way, are we going to pack up and go home?

“We are going to fight for what we believe in. In the last few days they have said the independence movement is finished.

“You don’t look finished to me, my friends.”

It is thought around 2,000 independence supporters attended the march, with a counter protest also taking place at George Square.

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