Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell resigns amid membership numbers row
Peter Murrell, the Scotland National Party (SNP) chief executive and the husband of the outgoing First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, has resigned with immediate effect. According to reports, Murrell was warned to quit by the end of Saturday or face a vote of no confidence.
This comes after Murray Foote, the SNP’s media chief, departed his position on Friday after a controversy stirred over contradictory reports from SNP regarding the party membership numbers.
Murray Foote in February rejected media reports that the party’s membership had dropped by 30,000 since 2021. However, in a surprising turn of events, SNP confirmed on Friday that membership indeed fell to 72,186 from 104,000 from 2021. Foote while resigning said in a Tweet that he is acting out of “good faith.”
Meanwhile, Murrell said the onus lies with him. 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.”
“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.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay defended Foote saying, “The problem is not a press officer. The problem is the rotten SNP leadership who deliberately lied to the press and public. We wish our best to Mr Foote, who was clearly told false information and is the fall guy for the SNP hierarchy.”
He said, “Murray Foote was giving out information he had been told, which was false. He didn’t lie. The SNP lied.” After serving as Scotland’s first minister for more than eight years, Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation in February that sparked a leadership contest in the nation after 20 years.
(With inputs from agencies)
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