Nicola Sturgeon: I am certain I have done nothing wrongon June 18, 2023 at 1:27 pm

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Scotland’s former first minister appears in public for the first time since her arrest a week ago.

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she is certain she has done nothing wrong after appearing in public for the first time since her arrest last Sunday.

Scotland’s former first minister told journalists she intended to be back in the Scottish Parliament this week.

Ms Sturgeon was questioned for more than seven hours as part of a police investigation into the SNP’s finances.

She temporarily moved out of her Glasgow home after being released without charge.

Returning there a week after her arrest, the former first minister said: “For now, I intend to go home and catch up with family.

“I know I am a public figure – I accept what comes with that. But I’m also a human being that is entitled to a bit of privacy.”

When asked if she had considered stepping back from the SNP, Ms Sturgeon said: “I have done nothing wrong and that is the only thing I am going to assert today.”

Operation Branchform

Police Scotland has been investigating for the past two years what happened to more than £600,000 of donations given to the SNP by independence activists.

As part of Operaton Branchform, officers searched Ms Sturgeon’s home and the SNP’s headquarters in Edinburgh on 5 April.

Her husband, ex-SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, was arrested before later being released without charge pending further investigation.

A luxury motorhome which costs about £110,000 was also seized by police from outside the home of Mr Murrell’s mother in Dunfermline.

Almost two weeks later, SNP treasurer Colin Beattie was also arrested and released without charge while further inquiries were carried out.

Mr Beattie resigned as party treasurer shortly afterwards.

Ms Sturgeon, Mr Murrell and Mr Beattie were the three signatories on the SNP’s accounts and the arrest of the former first minister had been widely expected – although there was no indication of when it was going to happen.

She announced on 15 February that she would be standing down as both SNP leader and first minister once a successor was elected, with Humza Yousaf winning the contest to replace her.

Ms Sturgeon said at the time that she knew “in my head and in my heart” that it was the right time to go, and has since denied the timing was influenced by the police investigation.

She was Scotland’s longest-serving first minister and the only woman to have held the position.

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