HUMZA Yousaf has insisted he will not talk about the live police investigation into the SNP’s finances when he next speaks to Nicola Sturgeon.  

The First Minister said he hadn’t spoken to his predecessor for several weeks but “might catch up for a coffee here and there” with her.  

He said civil servants would be present when the pair talked about government business, particularly a commitment about young people in care he wanted to “pick her brain on”.

However he was less emphatic about observers being present at other types of meeting.

“Certainly one thing Nicola and I will not be talking about will be the police investigation,” he said.

"That would be wholly inappropriate. Nicola would know that. I know that. So what we won’t be talking about is a live police investigation.”

Asked how people could trust them not to talk about it, Mr Yousaf groaned and said: “Jeezo.”

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The First Minister was speaking to the media at Holyrood after announcing a series of policy U-turns to prove the government was under “new leadership”. 

However the session and later Q&A with the press was dominated by SNP issues, including the arrest of its treasurer this morning as part of a police probe into the party’s finances.

MSP Colin Beattie was arrested and taken for questioning by officers examining whether £660,000 raised specifically for Indyref2 was spent on other things. 

The party’s former chief executive, Peter Murrell, who is married to Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested and questioned on April 5 before being released without charge.

Mr Yousaf said “people in their living rooms” were not talking about SNP developments.

Asked about Scottish Labour leader Anas Sawar’s suggestion that he was already a “lame duck” First Minister, Mr Yousaf said: “He’ll not, of course, be my biggest supporter. 

“What I've just been spending the last hour doing is articulating the priorities of the government that I lead. 

“Those priorities of course are equality, they’re about opportunity, they’re about community. 

“That’s what people in their living rooms are talking about, not talking about the latest that's going on with the SNP.”

The opposition have demanded Mr Yousaf suspend Mr Murrell, Mr Beattie and Ms Sturgeon.

Mr Yousaf said: “I think it's a really important point of natural law that people who are presumed innocent until guilty, and of course if they are guilty then I would take the appropriate action, whether that’s suspension or indeed going even further than that. 

“It’s really important that due process takes place. Due process for me is incredibly important.”

But asked if he wouldn’t suspend anyone until after they had been found guilty in a court of law, Mr Yousaf backtracked, and said action might be required if charges were laid. 

He said: “If they are charged, I would be happy to look at the circumstances at that point.

“We may well have to take that course of action, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

“There has been questioning under caution, which is not insignificant, but of course no charges as far as I’m aware. Unless I’ve missed anything. No charges have been brought forward as we speak.”

Asked if Ms Sturgeon would be next to be questioned, he said it would not be appropriate to comment on a live police investigation.

He also declined to comment on the SNP’s ownership of the £110,000 motorhome seized from outside the Dunfermline home of Mr Murrell’s widowed 92-year-old mother.

He went on: “I haven’t spoken to Nicola in the last couple of weeks. But I will get to speaking to Nicola of course. I’m certain I will. There’s a few things that I want to pick her brain on, like The Promise [the government commitment to support young people raised in care], and what more action we need to do to keep The Promise for care-experienced young people.

“But certainly one thing Nicola and I will not be talking about will be the police investigation.

“That would be wholly inappropriate. Nicola would know that. I know that. So what we won’t be talking about is a live police investigation.”

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Asked if any of his staff had spoken to Ms Sturgeon in the last few weeks, Mr Yousaf said: “Not that I'm aware of, but I don't go through my staff’s individual conversations or phone records. It's for them to determine. But I'm certainly not speaking to Nicola Sturgeon just now. I haven’t spoken to her, I won’t be speaking to her about a live police investigation.”

Asked if he would speak to Ms Sturgeon in the presence of civil servants so that there was a record of it, he said: “Yes, I'm sure there will be.

“But also, who knows, we might catch up for a coffee here and there as well. 

“But it certainly won't be, there won't be a discussion on the police investigation.” 

Asked how people could trust him or her on that point, Mr Yousaf groaned and said: “Oh, you don’t trust me, Tom. Jeezo. Disappointed.”

Asked if it wouldn’t be better to have observers, he said: “Happy to, happy to, I’m sure there will be, especially when it’s about keeping the Promise. That will, of course, be with civil servants.”