Nicola Sturgeon’s arrest is “coming up constantly” on the doors in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Anas Sarwar has said. 

The Scottish Labour leader also told journalists that voters in South Lanarkshire constituency were telling him that the SNP “had lost its way” and that they saw Humza Yousaf as a “demotion” from his predecessor. 

The Glasgow list MSP was speaking as Sir Keir Starmer made his first visit to the seat since voters ousted former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier in a recall petition. 

The leader of the opposition told activists gathered in Rutherglen Town Hall that the SNP was "imploding."

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The SNP has been rocked by a number of arrests related to a police investigation into the party's finances and funding.

Detectives are currently investigating if the party misspent £660,000 raised specifically for Indyref2.

In April, Ms Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell, the former chief executive was arrested, and police carried out a search of the couple's house. 

They also seized a £110,000 luxury motorhome from outside the Fife house of Mr Murrell’s elderly mother. 


SNP treasurer Colin Beattie was arrested on April 18 and Ms Sturgeon was arrested on June 11. 

All three were released without charge, pending further investigation after being questioned by detectives.

The Herald: Police at the house dshared by Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon

At the 'in conversation' event in Rutherglen, Sir Keir said that the by-election — expected in early October — would be an “important step” for Labour ahead of the next general election

"And for all us absolutely committed to a majority Labour government - that will only happen if we win Scotland. So it really, really matters we win this constituency as a stepping stone to the battle we will have into next year."

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Sir Keir said it would be the “first chance” Scottish Labour has had to “show the progress that we’ve made over the last few years, particularly under Anas’s leadership.” 

“When I think about where we were as a party when Anas took over to where we are now, it is like night and day, so this is our chance to show the progress that we have made and to expose the fact that the SNP have effectively run out of road.

"It’s not just that they’ve imploded, they’ve run out of road. That’s why they are getting personal, that’s why they are making the arguments they are.

"If they had a good sound argument they wouldn’t be saying what they are saying."

Asked if Operation Branchform was being raised by voters, Mr Sarwar said: “It’s coming up constantly. I think the sense coming on the doors is that the SNP has lost its way, that we've had a demotion in terms of the person that's in charge of Bute House and the Scottish Government and that people recognise that we need change.” 

He said Labour still had work to do to persuade voters.  “We’ve persuaded them why these two parties deserve to lose. We're working on persuading them why we deserve to win and that's what we're focused on in this by-election.”