THE SNP’s ruling body has been asked to consider suspending Nicola Sturgeon’s husband to stop the party being brought into further “disrepute”. 

It follows SNP chief executive Peter Murrell being accused of making a “false statement” under oath to the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair.

Recalled to give evidence today, Mr Murrell denied criminal conduct, but repeatedly refused to answer a Yes or No question on whether he had made a false statement at his first appearance in December.

In his previous evidence, Mr Murrell had told MSPs that he had not been at home on the day Mr Salmond held a key meeting there with Ms Sturgeon in 2018.

He then changed his story and said he had arrived home from work to find the meeting was ongoing.

In today’s session, Mr Murrell also confirmed to Labour MSP Jackie Ballie that he had sent a message to a colleague about a third SNP official “not being forceful enough” to get a woman to “make a police statement” against Mr Salmond.

Mr Murrell had previously denied under oath that more than two messages between him and the official about Mr Salmond existed, and that both had been disclosed already.

He said the third message was in another context and the inquiry risking invading the privacy of someone who had already suffered a great deal of stress with the line of questioning.

He said he previously been referring to messages within the inquiry’s remit.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell 'refutes' perjury claim but ducks key question

It prompted Labour and the Scottish Tories to call on prosecutors at the Crown Officer to investigate whether Mr Murrell has broken the law.

Wilfully making a false statement under oath is punishable by up to five years in jail.

The inquiry is looking at how the Scottish Government botched its probe into sexual misconduct claims made against Mr Salmond by civil servants in 2018.

He had the exercise set aside in a judicial review, showing it was “tainted by apparent bias”, a Government flaw that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

He was later charged with sexual assault but cleared on all counts at a High Court trial last March.

Following Mr Murrell’s evidence, Chris McEleny, an SNP councillor in Inverclyde, wrote to the SNP business convener Kirsten Oswald about the matter.

He asked Ms Oswald, the MP for East Renfrewshire, to suspend Mr Murrell “with immediate effect pending a full investigation”.

Mr McEleny said: “If you do not act on this request, I am formally requesting that the next agenda of the SNP NEC includes a discussion on this call to suspend the Chief Executive.

“The National Executive Committee has the power to suspend staff members if you are unwilling to treat allegations seriously. 

“You will be aware from appraising the standing orders of the NEC that it is not a requirement to be a member of the NEC to submit such a request. 

“It is up to the National Secretary to prepare the agenda for the NEC and... I request that he adds this item to the agenda of the next meeting. 

“It is simply no longer sustainable for our National Executive Committee members to watch on as our party is brought into disrepute. 

“If you want what is best for our party, our cause, and for Scotland, you will support the immediate suspension of the Chief Executive and the establishment of an independent investigation in order that the full facts can be established, proper process can be followed, and we can get back to the reason our party came to be - securing Scotland’s independence.” 

READ MORE: Alex Salmond threatens to snub Holyrood inquiry over censored evidence

Mr McEleny said he had copied his message to SNP National Secretary Stewart Stevenson and other members of the NEC.

The messages referred to in the evidence session were between Mr Murrell and Sue Ruddick, the SNP’s chief operating officer.

In a statement earlier today, Ms Ruddick confirmed she had communicated with Mr Murrell “for support” around the time Mr Salmond was charged with sexual assault. 

She urged the committee not to pry into what were “private and personal communications” obtained by Mr Salmond’s trial defence team and which MSPs now want released by the Crown Office.

She said: “Private communications between myself and Mr Murrell are in no way relevant to this Committee’s remit. I am not a Government employee and had no role in the complaints process of the Scottish Government.”

She said “selective quoting, leaks and false allegations” were being used to bully and intimidate the women who complained against Mr Salmond, and it was “incredibly disappointing” that the inquiry was being used by Mr Salmond and his circle.

However, by denying the messages exist, Mr Murrell has arguably made them the committee’s business.

An SNP source said: "It’s no surprise Mr Salmond’s supporters are in cahoots with those willing to sideline the experiences of the women for political gain."