The SNP must “absolutely get our house in order” and ensure transparency and openness in the party’s governance, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has said.
She was speaking as police investigations into the party’s finances continued and following the second arrest as part of the inquiry.
Earlier this month, former party chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and questioned for more than 11 hours before being released without charge “pending further investigation”.
On Tuesday SNP treasurer Colin Beattie was arrested and was also released without charge “pending further investigation” later in the day.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Wednesday, Ms Robison said that decisive action is “absolutely critical” and that going forward the governance of the party needs to be “absolutely about transparency, openness”.
Police Scotland have been looking into how more than £600,000 in donations to the party earmarked for an independence referendum had been used.
Asked whether the party is concerned that former first minister Nicola Sturgeon might be arrested she declined to comment on speculation.
She said: “I’m not going to speculate on any of that, I don’t think that would be helpful.
“We need to wait for the facts to be established, whether that’s through the ongoing police investigation and of course the review about how the party is managed and that of course is really, really important not just to reassure party members, but it is important that the public expect us to get our own house in order while also important focusing as a government on supporting their households through the cost-of-living crisis and of course that’s what the First Minister set out yesterday in terms of the policy prospectus.”
Ms Robison said she does not know whether Ms Sturgeon has spoken to police.
Asked whether she has been in touch with the former first minister she said: “What I have done right at the beginning of the process is I sent her a very short message asking after her welfare really and I got a very short reply so we’ve had no discussions whatsoever about the police investigation and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me or her to do so.”
But according to Times reports, senior members of the SNP have claimed it is “inevitable” that the former first minister will be interviewed under caution or as a witness in the coming weeks.
Sturgeon is the only senior SNP official named on the party’s most recent financial accounts who has not been arrested.
The former first minister appears on accounts for the 2021-22 financial year as one of three registered officers, alongside Peter Murrell, the former chief executive, and Colin Beattie, the treasurer.
She has previously said she would “fully co-operate”.
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