Calls for Nicola Sturgeon’s husband to quit as SNP chief grow

Nicola Sturgeon announces she is to step down as SNP leader

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Nicola Sturgeon’s husband must step down from his job as the Scottish National Party’s chief executive after she resigned as Scottish First Minister, one of the party’s MPs has said. SNP MP Joanna Cherry wants a “neutral caretaker CEO” to take over from Peter Murrell.

Joanna Cherry has said she cannot see “any circumstances” where Mr Murrell is able to continue as chief executive as she called for fresh takeover of the party’s management.

She had earlier called for “reform” within her party’s leadership structure following the resignation of Ms Sturgeon.

Peter Murrell married Ms Sturgeon in 2010 but has been chief executive of the SNP since 1999.

Ms Cherry has condemned his decision to stay in the role.

Writing on Twitter she said: “It is vital that @theSNP reacts to the resignation of #NicolaSturgeon in a way that is beneficial to the country and the cause of independence. Our party needs a leadership election that is about policies and not personalities.

“The SNP Leadership & party management have been deeply bound together.

“I cannot see any circumstances in which Peter Murrell can continue as Chief Executive under a new leader who must be free to choose a successor. Meantime we need a neutral caretaker CEO.

“There are some huge challenges facing our country and our government.

“There is also a need for reform and healing within our party. I’m looking forward to playing my role in this process.”

Ms Sturgeon announced her resignation at a press conference earlier today.

She says she will remain in post until her successor is in place.

The FM said the “time is right” for her to step down, something she said she knows “instinctively”, describing her decision to step down as a “duty”. 

Ms Sturgeon said “being First Minister of Scotland is the very best job in the world”, adding that it was “a privilege beyond measure” to be the first female in the role. 

But – in a nod to the row over trans rights – she denied that her decision to step down came as a result of “short-term pressures”.

She added: “I know it might seem sudden but I have been wrestling with it with oscillating levels of intensity for a few weeks.”

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The SNP leader also appeared to give up on her dream for Scottish independence, saying she wants her party to choose its plan for pursuing the goal without the influence of a leader who might not be around to carry it out. 

She said: “I free the SNP to choose the path that believes to be the right one.”

The SNP is the subject of a police probe into the spending of £600,000 which was earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.

Ms Sturgeon has also been quizzed on finances involved in her husband’s decision to donate more than £100,000 to help with the party’s cashflow.

Ms Cherry has previously been at odds with her party’s leadership following her opposition to controversial gender reforms which makes it easier to self-identify as a chosen gender.

She was sacked from the SNP Westminster front benches in February 2021 following her opposition to the policy.

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