Nicola Sturgeon: what did former First Minister say in leaked NEC footage amid SNP finance probe
Opponents have called on the SNP to suspend the former party leader amid the ongoing investigation into finances and funding
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A new leaked video has shown Nicola Sturgeon insisting that the SNP finances were nothing to worry about, months before police launched a probe into the matter.
The footage, obtained by the Sunday Mail, showed the former SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland speaking during a meeting of the national executive committee (NEC), the SNP's ruling body. The leaked footage was released amid a time of turmoil for the party, which saw its former chief executive, and Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell arrested and later released without charge as police investigated the funding of the party.
Opponents of Sturgeon and the SNP have now called for action against the former leader. Some have called on the party to suspend Sturgeon, who vacated the role of First Minister three weeks ago after resigning.
Sturgeon's successor, Humza Yousaf, has attempted to distance himself from the scandal over finances. Ian Blackford, former Westminster leader and close Sturgeon ally, defended the party's finances, insisting that the finances were in "robust health".
Here's everything you need to know about the new leaked footage.
What did Nicola Sturgeon say in leaked video?
In the footage, Sturgeon could be seen on screen during the NEC meeting stating that SNP finances had never been stronger. She said: "There are no reasons for people to be concerned about the party’s finances and all of us need to be careful about not suggesting that there is."
The former leader suggested that spreading such information would be detrimental to the party finances, adding that members of the NEC had to be “very careful, all of us, about suggestions that there are problems with the party’s finances, because we depend on donors to donate”.
She concluded: "And lastly, we’ve got to be careful, as an NEC, we don’t reap what we sow. If we have leaks from this body, as I said earlier on, it limits the ability for open, free and frank discussion.”
The footage was filmed in March 2021, two months before Douglas Chapman resigned as SNP treasurer over a lack of support and transparency, and four months before police officially launched a probe into the party finances.
What has been said about the footage?
SNP opponents have called on the party to suspend Sturgeon from the party as the police investigation continues. The Scottish Tories led calls for the MSP to be suspended following her husband's arrest and subsequent release from custody.
Yousaf, who spoke of the situation during an STUC conference, said: “We are far past the time of judging what a woman does based on what happens to her husband.”
Speaking of the footage, Yousaf added that he "wasn't particularly disturbed" by Sturgeon's words in the video, adding: “It tends to be the case that you fundraise in advance of an election and tend to spend quite a fair bit of money during an election.
“After the election, of course, is when you want to make sure you can address any cash flow issues that you might have as a result of that big spend."
Ian Blackford also defended his party, following reports that current party treasurer party treasurer Colin Beattie said that the SNP was having trouble "balancing the books". Blackford said: “The SNP is still a large membership party, we have more than 70,000 members, we have donors giving to the party, parliamentarians making a contribution,” he told the BBC.
“The SNP will continue to operate as it has been doing in order that we support our members, in order that we support the leader, in order that we fight elections, by-elections – we’ll be ready for the general election next year.
“This is, if I may say so, a bit of a media frenzy which is taking place at the moment and there’s no question about the SNP funding its operations, whether that’s in the short term or the long term.”