SNP has a ‘tremendous mess’ to clean up says Russell
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Nicola Sturgeon has denied a Police Scotland investigation into alleged SNP corruption involving her husband Peter Murrell was behind her decision to resign as party leader and Scottish First Minister. Ms Sturgeon was confronted with the issue less than 24 hours after Mr Murrell was forced to quit over a separate scandal to cover up an exodus of more than 30,000 former members from the party.
Ms Sturgeon gave an interview to Sky News as the SNP’s leader appeared on the verge of imploding over claims of corruption and anger over a lack of transparency in the leadership contest to replace her.
Serious questions are being asked about why the party allegedly tried to cover up the loss of 30,000 members since numbers were last reported.
Meanwhile, a Police Scotland investigation into SNP finances including a £100,000 loan to the party by Mr Murrell to help cashflow problems in 2021 continues to shake the party.
Asked by Sky’s Beth Rigby if she and her husband had been interviewed by the police, Ms Sturgeon said: “Look, no, but I’m not going to comment, I wouldn’t comment on any ongoing police investigation and I’m not going to comment on this one.”
Asked if it played a part in her own departure, she said: “No, it hasn’t, no.”
The outgoing SNP leader also had to respond to party President Michael Russell’s weekend admision it is “in a mess.”
She said: “I don’t think the party’s in a tremendous mess and I don’t actually think that’s what Mike meant.
“Some of the issues around the leadership election have, you know, created this impression of it being messier than we would like it to be but the process is fundamentally sound.
“The party is undefeated electorally. I’m struck by the fact most parties who go through a process like this do it after an election defeat.
“That’s not the position the SNP is in.”
Ms Sturgeon also urged the winner of the contest not to completely ditch her controversial legacy which included the fiasco of the gender recognition reform legislation.
She said: “We’re going through what I would describe as necessary growing pains – it is difficult but I think we’ll come out of it stronger and perhaps the tricky thing given we are undefeated electorally, still by some distance, Scotland’s biggest political party, it’s to get the balance right between the renewal, change, refresh that is necessary – I wouldn’t be standing down if I didn’t think that was necessary after 16 years in government, but also protecting the ingredients of our phenomenal electoral success not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
“So difficult process, yes but a necessary one for the party.”
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