Michelle Thomson, Nicola Sturgeon and Kate Forbes.
By Lucy Ashton
Nicola Sturgeon orchestrated a bullying ring to try and force a party politician out of the SNP, it has been claimed. Michelle Thomson, now an MSP, claims the former First Minister was aided by her husband Peter Murrell and her right-hand woman Liz Lloyd in issuing threats to get her to stand down.
While an MP, police carried out an investigation into a solicitor who carried out property deals on Ms Thomson’s behalf years earlier. Despite never being charged or arrested – or even being a suspect – it is alleged Nat HQ used strong-arm tactics to get her out when details of the probe came to light.
Thomson resigned the party whip in September 2015, just months after her election as MP for Edinburgh West. In doing so, she also lost her party membership. She stood down at the 2017 election but was able to return as an MSP in 2021 for Falkirk East and went on to run Kate Forbes’s leadership campaign earlier this year.
The claims are likely to add pressure for Humza Yousaf to suspend Ms Sturgeon from the party after her arrest as part of a probe into SNP finances last week, something he has refused to entertain.
The Sunday Mail reports a source who said: “Michelle was ruthlessly ejected from the party on the orders of Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell as a damage-limitation strategy in the face of a few bad headlines.”
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon has returned home for the first time since her arrest as part of Operation Branchform and insisted “I’ve done nothing wrong”. The former first minister, who now also faces accusations of bullying, has been in hiding for a week.
However, she addressed a media scrum outside the home she shares with Peter Murrell on Sunday. She refused to answer questions during a brief appearance outside her door but again insisted she was innocent of any crime.
She was asked if she would step back from the SNP and if “Nicola Sturgeon would have suspended Nicola Sturgeon” but sidestepped the issues before stepping into her house. However, she did confirm no conditions had been placed on her arrest.
Officers at Police Scotland are currently probing £600,000 of SNP donations after allegations the cash was spent fraudulently. During her brief appearance, she said: “I can’t say very much just now, what I will say is reiterate the statement I issued last Sunday.
“I am certain that I have done nothing wrong. I intend to be back in parliament in the early part of the week, I’ll make myself available for questions then, obviously within the constraints I’m referring to right now.
“For now, I intend to go home, to catch up with some family. I know I’m a public figure I accept what comes with that but I’m also a human being that’s entitled to a bit of privacy and my neighbours are also entitled to a bit of peace and quiet as well.”
Asked whether she had considered stepping back from the SNP, she replied: “I’ve done nothing wrong and that is the only thing I’m going to assert today.”