Nicola Sturgeon arrest: Anas Sarwar questions whether Humza Yousaf is ‘too weak’ to suspend former first minister

The Scottish Labour leader said the SNP is ‘mired in scandal’

The leader of Scottish Labour has questioned whether Humza Yousaf is “strong enough” to suspend Nicola Sturgeon’s membership of the SNP in the aftermath of her arrest.

Anas Sarwar suggested the First Minister may be “too weak” to take action against his predecessor.

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Ms Sturgeon was arrested and released without charge on Sunday as part of the ongoing police investigation into the SNP’s funding and finances.

Scottish Labour leader Anas SarwarScottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar

In a statement released on social media, she insisted: “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.”

The former first minister is now facing calls to resign her membership of the SNP until the police investigation is over.

Ash Regan, a former SNP leadership candidate, said Ms Sturgeon should consider giving up her membership until after the probe – or her successor Mr Yousaf should take “decisive action”. She told BBC Radio Scotland: “I think that Nicola should perhaps consider voluntarily resigning her SNP membership until this can be cleared up.”

Mr Sarwar was asked about the issue as he campaigned in Hamilton ahead of an expected by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Asked if Ms Sturgeon should be suspended, he said: “Ultimately that’s a decision for the SNP about what they do in reaction. But if we look at previous cases in the SNP, there have been suspensions, and the question is whether he [Mr Yousaf] is strong enough or whether he’s too weak to take the action.”

Mr Sarwar said the Scottish Government is “dysfunctional and incompetent” and people deserved better. He added: “We now have a political party that is mired in scandal, mired in division, that is incompetent and dysfunctional and that’s got negative consequences for people across this country.”

Mr Sarwar continued: “This is now a government in absolute meltdown and dysfunction, and it’s a perfect example of why we need change.”

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He said internal divisions in the SNP are “spilling over” and having consequences for people across Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon’s arrest is the third relating to the police probe, after her husband – and former party chief executive – Peter Murrell and ex-treasurer Colin Beattie. Both men were also released without charge pending further investigation.

The probe was launched in July 2021 following complaints about how more than £600,000 of donations for a second independence referendum campaign had been spent.



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