SNP: has Peter Murrell resigned as chief executive? What has been said - is he married to Nicola Sturgeon?
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Nicola Sturgeon has said her husband Peter Murrell was “right” to announce his immediate resignation as chief executive of the party she leads.
Murrell said on Saturday he was stepping down from his role with immediate effect, following suggestions the party’s ruling National Executive Committee was considering a vote of no confidence in him. It comes amid a row over SNP membership numbers, sparked by the divisive battle currently taking place to replace Ms Sturgeon as both SNP leader and Scottish First Minister.
It follows the departure of the SNP media chief Murray Foote, who left on Friday (17 March) amid a row over the party’s membership numbers. Murrell had held the position as chief executive of the SNP since 1999. He is the husband of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP is currently in the middle of a leadership election, searching for a replacement party leader and next First Minister. Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yusaf are standing to replace Sturgeon.
Here is all you need to know:
What has Peter Murrell said?
In a statement, Murrell said: “Responsibility for the SNP’s responses to media queries about our membership number lies with me as chief executive. While there was no intent to mislead, I accept that this has been the outcome. I have therefore decided to confirm my intention to step down as chief executive with immediate effect.
“I had not planned to confirm this decision until after the leadership election. However as my future has become a distraction from the campaign I have concluded that I should stand down now, so the party can focus fully on issues about Scotland’s future.
“The election contest is being run by the National Secretary and I have had no role in it at any point.”
He continued: “I am very proud of what has been achieved in my time as chief executive and of the part I have played in securing the electoral success the party has enjoyed over almost two decades. 14 national election wins is testament to the skills of the dedicated and talented HQ team that I have been privileged to lead.
“They give their all to the party and the independence cause and I thank them for it. I have worked for independence all my life and will continue to do so, albeit in a different capacity, until it is achieved – and I do firmly believe that independence is now closer than ever.”
Sturgeon says it was right for her husband to resign
Sturgeon told Sky News Murrell had “obviously taken responsibility for the recent issue with membership”.
She added: “He had intended to step down when there was a new leader but I think he was right to make that announcement today.” Sturgeon continued: “Peter has been a key part of the electoral success we have achieved in recent years and I know there will be a recognition of that across the party.”
Is Peter Murrell married to Nicola Sturgeon?
The SNP’s former chief executive is the husband of the former First Minister. The couple first met in 1988 and began dating in 2003.
Sturgeon and Murrell wed in a service at Òran Mór Glasgow in July 2010.