SNP senior figures fear ‘Nicola Sturgeon and her husband could be charged’ following police fraud probe
- It was confirmed last week that Operation Branchform had expanded
A police investigation into the finances of the Scottish National Party (SNP) could see Nicola Sturgeon and her husband charged, according to leading SNP figures.
It was confirmed last week by Scotland’s outgoing chief constable, Sir Ian Livingston, that Operation Branchform had expanded beyond the initial allegations that capital raised for future referendum campaigns had been fraudulently spent elsewhere.
The operation now is looking into the misuse of funds and allegations of embezzlement, with senior SNP figures confiding the former First Minister, as well as her husband, Peter Murrell and Colin Beattie, the party’s former treasurer, could be charged, the Times reports. All three deny wrongdoing.
It comes at a time when the SNP is heavily divided, with the independent MP for Na H-Eileanan An Iar Angus MacNeil recently complaining that the party is ‘clueless’ about independence.
SNP MSP Fergus Ewing has also suggested that first minister Humza Yousaf should ‘consider his position’ if the government cannot outlay a clear timetable for upgrading the A9 between Perth and Inverness to dual carriageway status.
Party figures were recently irritated after Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) was seen with SNP supporter Val McDermid at the Harrowgate Crime Writing Festival
Former chief executive of the SNP, Peter Murrell, was arrested earlier this month by police investigating the SNPs finances, and questioned for more than 11 hours before being released pending further investigation
Mr Ewing went onto say that if the party fails to deliver on the pledge, that the SNP didn’t deserve ‘to continue to be in government’.
Another SNP MSP described the situation as ‘open season’ with ‘no one’ having the ‘authority to get a grip of it and sort it’.
Senior party figures have told the Times that they expect charges be brought against Ms Sturgeon herself, her husband Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, or Colin Beattie, the former treasurer.
All three of which deny any wrongdoing.
One SNP MSP accused the process of taking too long, asking for the police to ‘put up or shut up’, describing the situation as a ‘mess’.
Party figures were recently irritated after Ms Sturgeon was seen with SNP supporter Val McDermid at the Harrowgate Crime Writing Festival, with one MSP saying that every time the former first minister is seen in public, it ‘reminds everyone of the bloody story’.
Senior party figures have told the Times that they expect charges be brought against Ms Sturgeon herself, her husband Peter Murrell (left), the party’s former chief executive, or Colin Beattie, the former treasurer
The woes for the SNP comes just days after the Labour Party’s internal dispute over public spending.
Sir Keir Starmer has made assurances that his party will strive to keep the current two-child benefit cap, which potentially could give the SNP the upper hand.
However, a number of SNP optimists are still doubtful over the party’s chances of avoiding a number of critical defeats at the next general election.
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