Ex-Scottish Leader Nicola Sturgeon Arrested, Questioned

Police investigating party finances release her hours later
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 11, 2023 5:00 PM CDT
Ex-Scottish Leader Nicola Sturgeon Arrested, Questioned
Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a press conference in Edinburgh in February.   (Jane Barlow/Pool photo via AP, File)

Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who dominated politics in Scotland for almost a decade, was arrested and questioned for several hours on Sunday by police investigating the finances of the governing, pro-independence Scottish National Party. Police Scotland said a 52-year-old woman was detained Sunday morning "as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party," the AP reports. She was released about six hours later without being charged, "pending further investigation," the force said. British police do not identify suspects until they are charged.

Sturgeon said after her release that her arrest had been "both a shock and deeply distressing" in a statement on social media, adding that she can't discuss the matter in detail. "However, I do wish to say this, and to do so in the strongest possible terms. Innocence is not just a presumption I am entitled to in law. I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing." Scottish police opened an investigation in 2021 into how about $754,000 designated for a Scottish independence campaign was spent. Two former party officials, Colin Beattie, who was treasurer, and Peter Murrell, who was chief executive, were previously arrested and questioned as part of the investigation. Like Sturgeon, both were released pending further inquiries.

Murrell is Sturgeon's husband, and police searched the couple's home in Glasgow after his arrest in April. It is highly unusual for a leader or former leader of a UK political party to be arrested. Sturgeon resigned in February after eight years as Scottish National Party leader and first minister of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government. She said then that she knew "in my head and in my heart" that it was the right time for her, her party, and her country to make way for someone else. The first female leader of Scotland's devolved government, Sturgeon led her party to dominance in Scottish politics and refashioned the SNP from a largely one-issue party into a dominant governing force. But she left office amid divisions in the party and with her main goal—independence from the UK— unmet.

(More Nicola Sturgeon stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.