Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested in connection with party funding probe

Former Scottish independence leader Nicola Sturgeon, who resigned as Prime Minister in February, was arrested on Sunday June 11 as part of an investigation into the funding of her political party, the Scottish National Party (SNP ), announced British media, including the BBC and the PA agency.

“A 52-year-old woman was arrested today, Sunday June 11, 2023, as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party”announced the Scottish police, without giving an identity. “The woman has been taken into custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland. »

A spokesperson for M.me Sturgeon, quoted by PA, claims that the former leader voluntarily went to an interview with the police, “during which she was to be arrested and interrogated”. “Nicola always said she would cooperate with the investigation (…) and she continues to do so”continued this spokesperson.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Surprise resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland: “I am a human being, in addition to being a politician”

Donations of £600,000

Searches were carried out in several properties, in particular at the home of Mme Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrell, where a police tent has been erected in the garden, and at the SNP headquarters in Edinburgh, according to the PA news agency. At the beginning of April, Mr. Murrell, who was until mid-March director general of the SNP, was arrested as part of this investigation, before being released the same evening without prosecution. A few days later, the treasurer of the SNP, Colin Beattie, was arrested. He too was released without charges being brought against him.

The investigations then focused in particular on the use of donations of 600,000 pounds sterling (683,000 euros) collected in recent years with a view to organizing a new independence referendum, a project at an impasse in the face of rejection from London. The media also raised questions about a loan he would have paid to the party.

The weakened SNP

After eight years at the head of Scotland and, in total, fifteen years in positions of responsibility in the local executive, Nicola Sturgeon announced his resignation in mid-February to everyone’s surprise, explaining that he lacked energy. During all these years in power, she fought for independence with determination.

The party, weakened by this departure, also emerged divided from the internal campaign which resulted, in March, in the appointment as prime minister of Humza Yousaf, 38 years old. The first leader of the Muslim faith to lead one of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom, Mr Yousaf is seen as embodying a continuity with Mrme Sturgeon, with a progressive line on societal issues and a leftist sensibilities on the economy.

To the BBC, Humza Yousaf reiterated on Sunday morning that he would “the leader who will see that Scotland becomes an independent nation”. But this fight, once revived by Brexit and the unpopularity of successive Conservative governments in London, seems to have reached an impasse. The Supreme Court has rejected Edinburgh’s desire to hold a new referendum without London’s agreement, after the vote that led to the 55% no victory in 2014.

The World with AFP

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