UPDATE: No comment says Nicola Sturgeon as police step up fundraising fraud inquiry

Nicola Sturgeon - Image Prachaya Roekdeethaweesab / Shutterastock.com

18:32 (February 15) – Police Scotland have stepped up their inquiries into fundraising fraud with a number of people said to have been interviewed.

According to the Herald on Sunday, Operation Branchform was launched in 2021 to investigate funds raised in 2017, which were raised for the referendum campaign but are said to have been spent on other things.

Sturgeon was asked whether she had been interviewed following her shock resignation but she refused to comment saying that she couldn´t do so with the police investigation ongoing.

There is some suggestion that her husband, Peter Murrell, is also now being investigated over a loan he provided to the party to help them overcome cash flow issues.

But a party spokesperson denied that he provided a loan saying: “We’ve set out previously that this was a personal contribution made by the chief executive to assist with cash flow after the 2021 elections.”

According to the police they had submitted a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service who said: “A Police Scotland request for advice and direction has been received.

“COPFS will continue to work with the police in this ongoing investigation.”

It is not known whether there is any link between the shock resignation and the police investigation.

17:14 (February 15) – The shock announcement by Nicola Sturgeon that she had resigned has left everyone wondering who will replace her as Scotland´s first minister.

Sturgeon resigned after a few tumultuous weeks in which she had to deal with a number of difficult issues and wherein indications were that support for her independence referendum was waning.

Announcing the resignation to the media on Wednesday, February 15, she said that politics was brutal and that it was time for new blood. She added that the party had more than sufficient talent to take over the role of first minister.

Currently, there is no clear heir to the throne, but according to Sky News, there are four potential candidates who stand out.

The first is current deputy leader Keith Brown, with the 61-year-old having served since 2007 following his departure from the army.

The second Kate Forbes who is currently Scotland´s finance and economy secretary. But, the 32-year-old who is on maternity leave holds some views that won´t go down well with everyone including being anti-abortion and same-sex marriage.

The third Angus Robertson current constitution, culture and external affairs secretary. A past leader of the SNP in Westminster, the 56-year-old is a seasoned politician who served under both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Finally Humza Yousaf, a rising star within the party and the first non-white and Muslim cabinet member in Scotland. Now 37 and responsible for health and social care, he was elected at the age of 26, making him the youngest MSP at the time.

The shock resignation does leave the party in some disarray but it also provides an opportunity for someone new to take the party forward.

The leadership election

Candidates need 100 nominations from party members from at least 20 of the party´s branches. Should there be more than one candidate there will be an election in which all party members can vote.

To be eligible to stand you have to be a current serving MSP and a simple majority is all that is needed to be elected.

A successor needs to be appointed by the Scottish parliament within 28 days of the leader submitting their resignation to the king.

Nicola Sturgeon´s resignation is the latest in the many changes that have been seen in British politics and like the conservatives, it is not clear who will replace her as Scotland´s first minister.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.