SNP CASH DEBACLE: Nicola Sturgeon accused of spouting ‘same old secrecy and spin’

The former First Minister appeared at Holyrood for the first time since her husband Peter Murrell was arrested but refused to comment on why the SNP bought a motor-home and kept it a secret

Nicola Sturgeon, former First Minister of Scotland, spoke to the media as she arrived at the Scottish Parliament.

By Bill Heaney

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the police probe into the SNP’s finances and the raid on her home as “traumatic” as she refused to discuss why the party bought a motor-home, or what she knew about it.

But Dumbarton MSP and Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie, pictured right,  said: “Nicola Sturgeon might have taken some questions, but she has given no answers. Her attempt to downplay the extraordinary chaos we’re seeing in the SNP is an insult to the public’s intelligence.

“That Nicola Sturgeon is proud of a leadership that failed even by its own metrics and ended in the grotesque spectacle of a police raid on her home shows that she has completely lost touch.

“The same old secrecy and spin from Nicola Sturgeon won’t cut it anymore – we need real answers about the scandal and sleaze engulfing the SNP.”

Ms Sturgeon also claimed that it was not normal policy to tell other members of the party that auditors had quit, saying that the treasurer had instigated a new search in September.

Making her first public appearance at Holyrood since the marital home she shared with her husband was searched by detectives, she was visibly emotional as she said she was “surprised” when police showed up at her door at the start of this month.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford hits back at Stephen Flynn with double down on finance claim

But her comments were not accepted by some of her closest rivals, with Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie accusing her of spouting the “same old secrecy and spin.”

The former First Minister also hinted that she wanted to tell her own version of the story but could not do so until the police probe had finished and confirmed that she had yet to be spoken to by detectives.

She also denied that the investigation had anything to do with her resigning as she attended parliament business for the first time since the Easter recess.

Ms Sturgeon said that she would not be getting into any “aspects of the investigation” when asked if she expected to be arrested or questioned by cops.

She said: “I understand the view that some people might have that I knew all of this was about to unfold and that’s why I walked away. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I could not have anticipated in my worst nightmares what would have unfolded over the past few weeks. I believe the SNP, notwithstanding the real difficulties that surrounds every party just now, is in real good state.

“The police investigation was known about so there was no secret in that. The reasons I stepped down were the reasons I outlined in Bute House in February.

“Of course, I understand that people are now looking back at that and seeing well was there something more to it? There wasn’t. If you are saying to me, back then or anytime before it happened, if I anticipated what happened almost three weeks ago, the answer is no.”

She also rejected claims that she was tipped off by police that they would be arresting Mr Murrell before she stepped down.

Her appearance at Holyrood was a surprise after SNP sources claimed that she would be back at Holyrood “soon” but did not indicate it would be on Tuesday.

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