Nicola Sturgeon arrested in connection with SNP finance probe

Nicola Sturgeon - Peter Summers/Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon – Peter Summers/Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon has been arrested “as a suspect” by police investigating SNP finances, police said.

Police Scotland said the former Prime Minister was in custody and being questioned by detectives as part of the ongoing investigation into “the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party”.

A report will be sent to the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service.

A spokeswoman for Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Nicola Sturgeon today, Sunday June 11, in agreement with Police Scotland, attended an interview where she was to be arrested and questioned in relation to Operation Branchform.

“Nicola has always said she would cooperate with the investigation if asked and continues to do so.”

The 52-year-old’s arrest comes more than two months after her husband Peter Murrell, the former SNP chief executive, was also detained and their home searched for two days.

Humza Yousaf, Ms Sturgeon’s successor as prime minister and leader of the SNP, said on Sunday he could not comment on the police investigation when asked if it was ‘strange’ that no one had yet been charged.

Nicola Sturgeon - Scott Hepell/AP

Nicola Sturgeon – Scott Hepell/AP

But he told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg he didn’t think ‘the question was unreasonable to ask’, as he revealed he had recently spoken with his predecessor.

Mr Yousaf said he asked Ms Sturgeon about her well-being and she mentioned ‘how difficult and traumatic the past few weeks have been’.

However, he said she was ‘in a good place and doing well’ when he ‘caught up with her a few times’ in the Scottish Parliament, where she kept a very low profile.

Mr Yousaf defended her advice, saying she had been ‘arguably one of the finest and most impressive politicians Europe has seen in the last two decades’.

Mr. Murrell was arrested on April 5. He was later released without charge pending further investigations.

“grotesque spectacle”

Allies of the couple have attacked the police conduct, in particular the decision to erect a tent outside their home, with the former SNP chief spin doctor calling it a “grotesque spectacle”.

Murray Foote said he was willing to bet £5 on no charges after the investigation was completed.

However, Scotland’s chief constable said the operation was being carried out “with integrity”.

Sir Iain Livingstone said he would “fiercely resist” any political interference in the inquiry.

He said a “diligent, thorough and proportionate” criminal investigation was continuing and that timelines would be set by investigative rather than political considerations.

It also emerged that the force consulted the National Crime Agency last year about the long-running investigation, asking it to conduct a review of its work on the case.

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