Nicola Sturgeon's husband: who is Peter Murrell and how did they meet?

Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon's husband, has been arrested by Scottish as a suspect in an investigation into the SNP's finances

Peter Murrell is the husband of former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon and was the Chief Executive Officer of the SNP for more than two decades, resigning from the role in March this year.

Former CEO of the party Michael Russell has stepped in as acting CEO of the SNP.

On 5 April, Murrell was arrested by Scottish police as they carry out an investigation into the party's finances.

Sturgeon resigned as Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP in February. The couple have worked in the upper echelons of the Scottish government for years.

Sturgeon succeeded Alex Salmond as First Minister and SNP leader in 2014 and was the first woman to hold either position. In her resignation speech on 15 February she said that she knew ‘in my head and in my heart’ that stepping down was the right thing to do.

Her resignation came after week’s of controversy over trans issues, including her support of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill which would make it easier for people to legally change their gender. The act was passed in Scotland but blocked by the UK government.

Sturgeon has been married to Peter Murrell for more than a decade and throughout her time as leader of her party.

Who is Peter Murrell?

Peter Murrell, 58, is the chief executive officer of the Scottish National Party and has held the role since 1999. In 2021, he was paid just under £80,000 for the role, though his salary has fluctuated over the years - 10 years previously he had been paid just under £110,000.

Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell in 2019Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell in 2019
Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell in 2019

Previously, he worked for former SNP leader Alex Salmond at his constituency office in Banff and Buchan. It was through his role working for Salmond that he met the woman who would become his wife - Nicola Sturgeon.

As chief executive, it is his responsibility to look after the party’s finances.

When did Nicola Sturgeon meet Peter Murrell?

Nicola Sturgeon met Murrell when she was 18 years old - she was volunteering at Salmond’s constituency office in 1988 and attended an SNP youth camp which Murrell, then aged around 24 had organised.

Sturgeon and Murrell have been married since 2010Sturgeon and Murrell have been married since 2010
Sturgeon and Murrell have been married since 2010

The pair became a couple in 2003 and married in July 2010 in a civil ceremony at a bar and restaurant in Glasgow’s West End. The wedding was attended by then Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, as well as then-finance secretary John Swinney and then-education secretary Michael Russell.

Sturgeon and Murrell do not have children - in 2016 Sturgeon revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in 2011 when she was 40. She had chosen to stay silent about it for years because she did not want to be defined by the tragedy.

Peter Murrell arrested

Murrell was arrested as a suspect into an investigation into the SNP's campaign contributions and finances. Police Scotland have been investigating the spending of money which was earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.

A police statement stated: "A 58-year-old man has today, Wednesday, 5 April 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National party.

"The man is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives. Officers are also carrying out searches at a number of addresses as part of the investigation.

“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

“As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”