SNP will not suspend former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after finance probe arrest

Nicola Sturgeon will not be suspended from the SNP after her arrest and release on Sunday, ITV News Scotland Reporter Louise Scott has the latest

Scotland's First Minister, Humza Yousaf, has confirmed Nicola Sturgeon will not be suspended from the SNP after she was arrested by police investigating the party's finances.

Speaking to STV News, Mr Yousaf said Ms Sturgeon's arrest had been "personally painful" for him, and insisted he would not be suspending her from the party.

Ms Sturgeon, the former First Minister, proclaimed her "innocence" after she was arrested on Sunday as part of an ongoing police investigation into the SNP's finances.

Shortly after she was released without charge pending further investigation, Ms Sturgeon said it was “both a shock and deeply distressing”, adding: “I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing”.

She was held for seven hours by police questioning her in connection with detectives’ ongoing probe into the SNP’s finances.

Her spokesperson said she had been arrested on Sunday “by arrangement” with Police Scotland, and was cooperating with their investigation.

The force said she was arrested at 10.09am and was released from custody at 5.24pm. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

Humza Yousaf has confirmed he will not suspend his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon. Credit: Andy Buchanan/PA

Addressing his predecessor's arrest on Monday, Mr Yousaf said: "I will be treating her exactly the same way as I treated, for example, Colin Beattie. Both released without charge and therefore there is no reason for me to suspend her."

He told STV News Ms Sturgeon's arrest had been "personally painful" for him, speaking of the "admiration" he has for his close friend.

Former leadership candidate, Ash Regan, was one of those calling for Ms Sturgeon to voluntarily resign her SNP membership, telling the BBC on Monday that the police probe was a "distraction".

When asked if the SNP leader, Mr Yousaf, should suspend her, Ms Regan said: "Accountability in these types of situations is really important."

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar questioned Mr Yousaf's strength of leadership.

"The question is for Humza Yousaf, is he strong enough to take action? Or is he too weak to take action," he asked.

"That's a decision for them, what I'm more interested in is the fact that we now have an incompetent and dysfunctional SNP Government, a Government now famed for secrecy, for cover-up and economic instability and incompetence."

As well as from the opposition parties at Holyrood - with Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy pushing for Ms Sturgeon to be suspended - pressure has also come from within the SNP ranks for Ms Sturgeon to resign the whip.

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