MacAskill: SNP boss '˜must be more than Sturgeon's cheerleader'

Former Justice Secretary Kenneth MacAskill has launched an outspoken attack on the SNP's top official, saying he must be more than 'cheerleader-in-chief for his spouse', Nicola Sturgeon.
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

In a column for The Herald, Mr MacAskill said that by over-promoting the First Minister, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell had “eclipsed” the party’s other talents and the independence cause.

And he called for a concerted effort to reinvigorate and restore the SNP’s “organisation machine”, arguing that Ms Sturgeon could learn a lot from the Gordon Wilson, the party’s recently deceased former leader.

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Mr MacAskill said: “The organisation machine that had been built up needs to be restored.

“There should be a greater emphasis on that, not simply on social media and publicity. It’s a complicated job running a political party and Peter Murrell has done tremendous work. But, as party chief executive, he has to build the party from the base up, not simply be cheerleader-in-chief for his spouse.”

He added: “Likewise, the profile of the party has never been greater, yet the spotlight never more focused on one individual.

“Ms Sturgeon is hugely talented and a great asset. However, the concentration on her detracts from both colleagues and the wider cause. Both her cabinet ministers and the party more generally are eclipsed as a result.

“The SNP is bigger and the cause wider than just her. Focusing on her has been both a high-risk and short-term strategy. Others need allowed to blossom. The cause and the party both locally and nationally need promoted.

“She could learn a lot from Mr Wilson about building the base of the party and broadening her leadership team.”