Tom Gordon

THERE was a rumbling, gutteral soundtrack to much of FMQs today, as Nat MSPs desperately tried to drown out a series of questions about Michelle Thomson.

“Uurgrhnomorenomore,” went appalled groans when the dreaded name was uttered.

“Nananeverheardofher,” went a lip-smacking simian chatter as fingers were plugged in ears.

But despite these best efforts, the property-whizz-turned-SNP-nightmare dominated proceedings, with Labour and the Tories revelling in all the sleazy details.

For those recently lost in space, Ms Thomson used to be a party darling - founder of Business for Scotland, Edinburgh West MP and the SNP’s business spokeswoman at Westminster.

Then it turned out her business model was snapping up homes from skint souls on the cheap, and the solicitor she instructed was struck off for potentially facilitating mortgage fraud.

After a weekend exposé, Mrs T quit the SNP whip and the cops are now having a gander.

Before you could say “establishment cover-up”, Kezia Dugdale asked if anyone in the SNP had known about the ugly foundations of Ms Thomson’s £1.7m property empire.

“This may be an unfashionable view, but politicians, like anyone, are entitled to a presumption of innocence,” sniffed Ms Sturgeon. “The SNP had no prior knowledge of the issues.”

But this is “a moral matter” insisted the Labour leader.

“Does the FM agree that profiteering from vulnerable families is just plain wrong?”

Ms Sturgeon kept her counsel on that and accused Ms Dugdale of “mudslinging” instead.

Tory Ruth Davidson asked if “somebody somewhere turned a blind eye” to the affair.

“The FM is in charge when it suits her but when the wheels come off she is constantly surprised,” she miaowed. And would the FM ever have Mrs T back on the front bench?

“If the allegations are proved that will represent behaviour I find completely unacceptable,” said Ms Sturgeon through grinding molars. “I will take whatever actions I deem necessary.”

It ended with her declaring, in response to a query about start-ups, that she wanted Scotland to “to be seen as a great place - the best in the UK - to do business, set up businesses, expand businesses and invest in businesses”. Ms Thomson will no doubt testify to that.