Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to “fully cooperate” with police after the arrest of her husband, the SNP’s former chief executive, during an investigation into party finances.
In her first public comments since Peter Murrell’s arrest, former first minister Ms Sturgeon said recent days had been “obviously difficult” as she gave a short statement outside the couple’s Glasgow home on Saturday.
The former SNP leader said she could not comment on the investigation into the spending of around £600,000 which was earmarked for an independence campaign, “as much as there are things I may want to say”.
The MSP said she understands the “scrutiny that comes on me as a public figure”, adding: “But I’m also entitled to a little bit of privacy in my own home.”
She asked journalists to “respect” her neighbours’ privacy as well amid the “disruption and inconvenience” since Mr Murrell’s arrest on Wednesday.
“So that’s really all I needed to say just now, other than I intend to get on with life and my job as you would expect me to,” she added.
She declined to say whether detectives have indicated that they wish to quiz her.
Mr Murrell was released on Wednesday evening without charge pending further investigation.
Police searched their home in Glasgow for more than a day, with uniformed officers also searching the SNP’s headquarters in Edinburgh.
She said Mr Murrell is home but is “not able to say anything” about his arrest while the investigation continues.
“Again, that’s not necessarily a matter of choice. That’s just the nature of this,” Ms Sturgeon added.
Mr Russell also said he does not think independence can be achieved “right now”.
In an interview with The Herald newspaper, he said: “In my 50-year association with the party this is the biggest and most challenging crisis we’ve ever faced, certainly while we’ve been in government.
“But I have an obligation to this party and the movement for Scottish independence that’s been such a massive part of my life for so long.”
He continued: “I don’t think independence can be secured right now; we need to work towards some coordinated campaigning.
“But I think this is achievable. My main focus is how we can create a new Yes movement that allows for different visions but conducted in an atmosphere of mutual trust.”
Mr Russell said there would be a wide-ranging review of the SNP’s governance and transparency.