POLICE Scotland have been urged to say if officers told the former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon her husband may be arrested in the probe into SNP finances.

Peter Murrell, who stood down last month as SNP chief executive last month, was arrested at the couple's home in Glasgow this morning.

Officers have been searching the detached house and garden and the SNP's headquarters  in Edinburgh today.

Mr Murrell was tonight released from police custody without charge.

Jim Sillars, the SNP's former deputy leader, said Police Scotland should say whether Ms Sturgeon was given any indication of the arrest and if so when.

READ MORE: WATCH: As Police search SNP HQ following arrest of Peter Murrell

Police Scotland's chief constable Iain Livingstone and his deputy Malcolm Graham were both in Holyrood on February 9 this year when the former First Minister was also in the building for First Minister's Questions.

The visit by the senior officers was revealed in a freedom of information request with the force saying it was for a routine meeting with justice secretary Keith Brown.

The Herald:

Police officers loading crates into vans after leaving SNP headquarters in Edinburgh today. Photo PA.

"I think a number of people will be interested in when was Nicola Sturgeon informed about this possibility of her husband's arrest, that is the key question," Mr Sillars told The Herald.

"As to whether what has happened now had happened before or during the SNP's leadership contest is really now quite irrelevant. That will be one of the ifs of Scottish history."

He added: "I have already had people saying to me 'what was the timeline' between Nicola Sturgeon knowing there may be a problem in respect of her husband with the police and her resignation. That is a question people are quite legitimately asking.”

Commenting a spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on a live police investigation. Nicola Sturgeon had no prior knowledge of Police Scotland’s action or intentions. Ms Sturgeon will fully cooperate with Police Scotland if required however at this time no such request has been made.“ 

Tonight a Police Scotland spokesman said: "A 58-year-old man who was arrested as a suspect earlier today, Wednesday, 5 April 2023, in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party, has been released without charge pending further investigation.

"The man was questioned by Police Scotland detectives after he was arrested at 7.45am. He was released from custody at 6.57pm.

"Officers also carried out searches today at a number of addresses as part of the investigation.

"A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

"The matter remains active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

"As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further."

Ms Sturgeon announced her resignation on February 15 citing the toll the pandemic had taken on her for wishing to step down. She also said she may have become too divisive a figure to win over many of those currently opposed to independence.

The Herald:

Police officers pictured this evening outside the Glasgow home of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell.  Photo: PA.

She insisted that after more than 20 years in frontline politics, she had not been swayed by a crisis over transgender rights, A&E waiting times, or even, she implied, the ongoing police investigation into SNP finances.

"I'm not expecting violins here, but I am a human being as well as a politician," she said at a press conference at Bute House. "These jobs are a privilege, but they are also rightly hard."

Mr Murrell, who married the former party leader and First Minister in 2010, stepped down as the SNP's chief executive last month following a controversy about misleading information being given to journalists over the party's membership numbers.

Mr Murrell was arrested on Wednesday as a result of a long-running, police investigation into the spending of about £600,000 which was earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.

A blue tent was set up in the front garden of the house belonging to Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell early on Wednesday morning, with police taping it off.

Police also launched a search of the party's Edinburgh headquarters, with police vans seen parked outside and uniformed officers standing inside the building.

In the afternoon, two vans left the city centre, party headquarters, with police officers remaining stationed outside the building.

Later, a number of officers removed large green boxes from the building and stacked them into vans.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, who took over from Ms Sturgeon last week, described the arrest as a "difficult day" with the party.

He told broadcasters on Wednesday: "My reaction, as you'd imagine, much like anybody involved in the SNP, is that this is a difficulty for the party.

"But, again, I'd just reiterate and emphasise it's so important for me not to comment on a live police investigation and be seen to prejudice that in any way, shape or form."

He continued: "I think there'll be concern from the public but, again, there is a live police investigation under way and we will wait to see what comes at the conclusion of that police investigation."

He said: "Clearly, it would not be appropriate to comment on any live police investigation but the SNP have been co-operating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so.

"At its meeting on Saturday, the governing body of the SNP, the NEC, agreed to a review of governance and transparency - that will be taken forward in the coming weeks."