Nicola Sturgeon’s dad joins SNP civil war and claims Ash Regan is trying to destroy the party

Robin Sturgeon was also unimpressed with Kate Forbes as the first minister’s family lined up to back the party establishment’s candidate Humza Yousaf

Nicola Sturgeon with parents Robin and Joan Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon with parents Robin and Joan Sturgeon.

By Lucy Ashton

Nicola Sturgeon’s father has entered the civil war engulfing the SNP to claim Ash Regan is out to destroy the party.

The first minister’s resignation and subsequent fallout has left onlookers stunned as the usual iron discipline within the SNP ranks disintegrates.

And the outgoing leader’s family members seem happy to play their part. Over the weekend, Ms Sturgeon’s sister Gillian claimed she would vote for the Conservatives before either Ms Regan or Kate Forbes.

Ms Sturgeon is believed to heavily favour Humza Yousaf in the contest and it appears her family are no different. Robin Sturgeon, who once stood as an SNP council candidate in North Ayrshire, has now launched an extraordinary attack on one of the leadership candidates.

Nicola Sturgeon’s sister says she’d rather vote Tory than for Kate Forbes or Ash Regan

Responding to suggestions Ms Regan could take legal action to stop the vote after the resignation of Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell over the weekend, the electrician said: “I think it is becoming ever clearer that @AshReganSNP is not in this to win, but to destroy, aided and abetted by some in the party whose loyalties obviously lie elsewhere and by deranged others outwith the party who hope to gain from this.”

And in a broadside to Ms Forbes, he told one Twitter user who said they would leave the party if she or Ms Regan became leader: “They want to be party leader so they…trash its record in government….question the integrity of the voting system… damage the reputation of the party….really quite unbelievable.”

His Twitter feed also includes him backing messages branding Alex Salmond “the man who lost Scotland her Independence” and calling for Joanna Cherry, Angus MacNeill and Ms Regan to booted out of the SNP along with other “Alba facilitators and apologists”.

Joanna Cherry and Ash Regan should be booted out of the SNP along with other “Alba facilitators and apologists,” according to Nicola Sturgeon’s father.

It is the latest twist in an extraordinary SNP leadership battle that has seen both Ms Forbes and Ms Regan question the integrity of the contest last week.

Mr Murrell’s resignation followed that of SNP m media boss Murray Foote, a former editor of the Daily Record,  with both coming amid claims SNP HQ handed misleading membership figures to the press.

SNP membership has dropped by 30,000 in just over a year with the party claiming it has 72,000 members. A further 20,000 trickled away in the months before that.

However, Ms Forbes said on Monday she now had no issue with the contest while Ms Regan also backtracked slightly but did call for members to be given the option of voting again if they want.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives today claimed they scuppered a “shameful” SNP effort to shield the next First Minister from scrutiny by having their maiden FMQs on Thursday week cancelled.

Minister for parliamentary business George Adam put the unprecedented proposal to the Presiding Officer but was forced to drop it after vehement opposition from Scottish Conservative chief whip Alexander Burnett and other parties.

If successful, the move would have seen the next SNP leader evade questioning until Thursday April 20, because of the Easter recess which begins at the end of next week.

Nicola Sturgeon’s successor will be announced on Monday and is expected to be formally appointed First Minister on Tuesday, so there was no good reason – or historical precedent – for them not to face FMQs two days later.

Alexander Burnett, left,  said: “This shameful attempt to hide the First Minister from scrutiny was a new low – even for a party as obsessed as the SNP are with secrecy and spin.

“It was an outrageous affront to democracy that Nationalist business managers even attempted this stunt.

“This was totally unprecedented and unacceptable – every new First Minister or Prime Minister has faced parliamentary scrutiny whenever their first FMQs or PMQs has happened to fall.

“Nicola Sturgeon did her first FMQs on 20 November 2014, the day after becoming First Minister.  But this cowardly move tells you everything about the current state of the SNP. The leadership election has revealed a party in the grip of a civil war.

“The candidates have been kicking lumps out of each other, trashing Nicola Sturgeon’s record and questioning the integrity of the election itself, while the SNP’s chief executive and top spin doctor have resigned for lying to the media and party members. 

“The new First Minister may not want to face the music over this carnage at FMQs but it’s part of the job – and the SNP have been forced to accept he or she can’t be hidden away.”

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