NICOLA Sturgeon has described the recent crisis in the SNP as “very traumatic” for her personally and the stuff of her “worst nightmares”.

In her first appearance at Holyrood since her husband Peter Murrell was arrested, the former First Minister made a brief statement and took questions from the media.

She refused to talk about the police probe into the SNP’s finances which led to her husband’s arrest, or about the £110,000 motorhome seized from his 92-year-old mother.

However she revealed she had not spoken to the police yet about the matter, and denied she was given advance notice of the “knock at the door” that came on April 5.

She denied the investigation had prompted her to stand down as First Minister and SNP leader after eight years.

She said: “This is not an opportunity for me to say 'Poor me' for this.

“This is a serious process. Obviously serious issues are being looked at, and I respect and will continue to respect that process every step of the way. 

“But clearly the events of the last few weeks have been difficult.

“And I use this word advisedly and deliberately - in some respect very traumatic.

“But I accept that is the nature of the process that is underway right now. 

“I will continue to take each day as it comes.

“I will continue to get on with doing my job and I hope to be in a position at some stage where I can talk more openly about all of these different issues, the detail of them, and how that has all been.”

She said she intended to carry on the MSP for Glasgow Southside.

In a brief opening statement, Ms Sturgeon said: “I'm not going to go into any detail that impinges on a live police investigation. 

“There are many questions that I would want to be able to answer, and in the fullness of time I hope I will answer.

“But it would be wrong and inappropriate for me to go into any detail that is related to what the police are currently investigating. 

“It's fair to say this is not the easiest time. I'm not saying that for sympathy. It is what it is. 

“But I'm determined to get on with the job that I am doing. I’m working from home, have been working from home.

“I've been in my constituency. It's good to be back here in Parliament. And I'm going to go on with representing my constituents.”

She said she had not been questioned by the police and had never had a burner phone.

It was reported at the police that detectives investigating if £660,000 raised by the SNP specifically for Indyref2 was misused were looking for sim cards from disposable phones.

Mr Murrell was released without charge after being arrested and questioned, as was former treasuer Colin Beatie after he was arrested last week.

Asked about the current state of the party, she said: “One of the frustrating things just now -  and I'm not complaining about this, I understand the process is underway - but one of the frustrating aspects of that is that I'm not able to give my version of what is going on just now.

“Hopefully, the time will come when I can do that. 

“So I appreciate the concern [of SNP members]. I appreciate the frustration. But that is the nature of the process that is underway right now.”

Asked if she owed Humza Yousaf an apology for the state of the party he inherited, she said: “I think Humza is doing, in very, very difficult circumstances, an outstanding job.

“I have become ever more convinced than I was already convinced that he’s going to be a very fine First Minister. 

“I understand the view that some people might have, that I knew this was all about to unfold, and that's why I walked away. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

“I could not have anticipated in my worst nightmares what would have unfolded over the past few weeks.

“I believe the SNP, notwithstanding the real difficulties that surround the party just now, is in good shape and I think Humza will take it to even better [things].”

Asked is she didn’t know the state of the party she left her successor, Ms Sturgeon said: “The party that I led for eight years was successful beyond precedent in Scottish politics.

“I believe the SNP, as we will see in times to come, is a successful party.

“All parties after 16 years in government will have issues that it needs to confront. 

“I'm not talking about the specific issues that we're talking about right now. 

“The SNP will renew as it has done in the past, and I believe the SNP is a party in touch with the people of Scotland, delivering for the people of Scotland, and I think it will go on to greater things.”

Asked if she knew about the campervan bought by the party that ended up parked unused outside her mother-in-law’s for two years, she said: “I'm not going to get into anything that is subject to police investigation.

"Clearly the campervan is in that category.

“I'm not going to get into any aspect of things that the police are investigating.”

She went on: “I've had many difficult periods in a political career that has lasted over several decades now.

“I think you can safely say that the last few weeks have been amongst the most difficult, but it is what it is and I accept that, I accept the process. 

“I hope to be able to stand before you… and address many of these questions fully. 

“I can't do that just know for reasons you understand. 

“I also hope to be able to put a counter to many of the things that are being said right now, but I'm going to respect the process is underway.” 

Asked if the police investigation palyed a role in her announcing her resignation in February, she said: “No, it didn't. The police investigation was underway.

“It was known about, so there was no secret in that. 

“The reasons I stepped down as First Minister were the reasons I set out in Bute House in the middle of February. 

“Of course, I understand that people are now looking back in that and saying, Well, was there something more to? There wasn’t.

"If you saying to me, back then or anytime until it happened, [that] I could have anticipated what almost three weeks ago, the answer is No, I didn't and couldn't have done.”

She said she had been surprised when the police knocked her door at 730am on April 5.

Asked if anyone in Police Scotland had given her advance notice about the arrest of Peter Murrell and the search of her house, Ms Sturgeon said: "No." 

Asked how her husband was, Ms Sturgeon replied: “As you’d expected, it’s difficult, but like me, [he’s] respecting the process that’s underway. 

Ms Sturgeon said she had not spoken to First Minister Humza Yousaf since the arrest of her husband.

“I’m sure I will. This aside, I’ve got an insight from personal experience into how busy, how eventful, and how all-consuming, all-absorbing becoming first minister is. And Humza - even without this - has had a few weeks that will have been very eventful for him. 

“I will speak to Humza in due course. All I will say about Hmza right now is that I think, in very difficult circumstances he is doing an outstanding job as First Minister and he continues to have my full support.”

Asked if there was a problem with secrecy and a lack of transparency under her leadership, she said that was for others to judge. However, she said she supported the transparency and governance review launched by her successor last week. 

“I fully support the action that Humza and the National Executive Committee have taken. I’m never going to be objective n answering questions about my leadership, nobody is, that’s human nature. 

“I’m proud of my leadership of the SNP and what it achieved electorally. Other people will judge these things. 

“If there is frustration on my part it’s that I can’t talk openly about some of this right now given the nature of the process but hopefully there will come a day when I can do that more. 

She said people were seeing the party’s difficulties in finding an auditor through “the prism of recent events”.

“But at the time the auditors stood down from representing the SNP because they had reviewed their business - I don’t know whether there were other clients they did similar to - at the time, there was a process underway to replace the auditors. 

“At that time, that was nothing unusual or untoward. It was a process of replacing one auditor with another.”

Asked if others in the party should have been told, Ms Sturgeon said Mr Beattie was involved in the process. 

“I’m not complaining about this, I understand why people are applying hindsight to a lot of this, but at the time that was not something that was untoward.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon might have taken some questions but she has given no answers.

“Her attempt to downplay the extraordinary chaos we’re seeing in the SNP is an insult to the public’s intelligence.

“That Nicola Sturgeon is proud of a leadership that failed even by its own metrics and ended in the grotesque spectacle of a police raid on her home shows that she has completely lost touch.

“The same old secrecy and spin from Nicola Sturgeon won’t cut it anymore - we need real answers about the scandal and sleaze engulfing the SNP.”