NICOLA Sturgeon has uncharacteristically fled from the media after being asked about a “murky” six-figure loan her husband made to the SNP.

Despite normally fielding questions with aplomb, the First Minister hurried into a lift and then got out and went up the stairs to her Holyrood office as questions continued.

She twice refused to say if any of the money came from her.

It emerged earlier this week that her husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, made a personal loan of £107,620 to the party in June of last year.

The SNP said this was to “assist with cash flow after the Holyrood election”.

It should have been registered with the Electoral Commission by the end of July last year - as must all loans to parties above £7,500 - but the SNP did not do so until August this year. 

The SNP also disguised Mr Murrell’s identity as the source of the loan in its 2021 accounts, merely saying the money came from “executive management”.

The Commission let the SNP off with “guidance” rather than enforcement action over the late declaration as it had a “good compliance record”.

Opposition parties said it was “murky” and “beyond odd” that the chief executive of the party should dip into his own pocket to help tide it over financially.

READ MORE: Sturgeon's husband in row over 'murky' £100,000 loan to SNP

They also scoffed at the SNP claim that it didn’t initially realise it had to declare a six-figure loan, and demanded Ms Sturgeon explain what role she played in the matter.

According to Commission records, Mr Murrell was repaid £47,620 in autumn 2021, but £60,000 of the loan remains outstanding.

The loan was first reported by the pro-independence Wings Over Scotland website.

Doorstepped by the media after FMQs, Ms Sturgeon was asked how her husband was able to make a six-figure loan to the party.

She said: “Look, he made a personal contribution as a supporter of the party and that is the position.”

As she turned away and headed for the lift she was asked if any of the money came from her and replied: “It was a loan from him.”

Asked what she knew about the loan and when, she said nothing.

Asked in the lift if anyone else would still be chief executive if they told her the party needed a six-figure bail-out and then failed to report it for a year, she got out saying: “He made a personal contribution as a supporter.”

Asked again if any of the money was hers, she said nothing and disappeared up a staircase.

Asked later why Ms Sturgeon had “run away” from questions about Mr Murrell’s loan, the First Minister’s official spokesman said: “She didn’t. She answered questions.

"But we’re not going to get into discussing party matters here, it’s a government briefing.”

Asked if she had anything to hide, he said: “No. But it’s purely a party matter not a government one.”

Asked about the First Minister twice failing to say if any of the money was hers, he said: "It’s a party matter.”

Asked if she was "sketchy", he said: “It’s a party matter.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “The loan was reported in our 2021 accounts, which were published by the Electoral Commission in mid-August.

"The nature of this transaction was initially not thought to give rise to a reporting obligation.

"However, as it had been recorded in the party's 2021 accounts as a loan, it was accordingly then reported to the Electoral Commission as a regulated transaction.

"This was a personal contribution made by the chief executive to assist with cashflow after the Holyrood election.”

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: "The Electoral Commission’s Enforcement Policy sets out how we regulate in a way that is effective, proportionate and fair. 

"Where we find that offences have been committed, we carefully consider the circumstances in deciding whether to take enforcement action. 

"While the loan was reported late, taking into account all of the circumstances, including the party’s good compliance record, we decided to address the late reporting in this case via guidance to the party.”