DOUGLAS Ross has accused Nicola Sturgeon of a “calculated” show of emotion to distract from the scandal surrounding the SNP.

The Scottish Tory leader also said he had no sympathy for the former first minister after she claimed recent weeks had been “traumatic” and nightmarish for her.

On Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon appeared at Holyrood for the first time since her husband’s arrest on April 5 as part of a long-running police probe into the SNP’s finances.

Peter Murrell, the former SNP chief executive, was released without charge after being quizzed by officers looking into whether the SNP misspent £660,000 raised for Indyref2.

Officers also seized a luxury £110,000 motorhome owned by the SNP from outside the Dunfermline home of his 92-year-old widowed mother.

The SNP’s then treasurer Colin Beattie was also arrested, questioned and released without charge on April 18, and resigned as the SNP’s money man the next day.

On Tuesday, Mr Beattie, the MSP for Musselburgh, gave an explosive interview to the media at Holyrood in which he initially said he didn’t know about the SNP buying the campervan. 

It raised immediate questions about why the party treasurer wouldn’t have known about the purchase of the vehicle.

Around three hours later, Ms Sturgeon gave a lengthy media interview which immediately stole the headlines from Mr Beattie, in which she spoke of the pain of recent events.

Speaking at the Scottish Tory conference after giving his keynote speech, Mr Ross was asked if he felt sorry for Ms Sturgeon.

He said: “No. Look, this has been brought on by herself, her actions, the secrecy that she has presided over within her party and her government.

“I think most people don't want any attempts - and I think Nicola Sturgeon said this herself - to get sympathy from the public. They want answers.

“Because there's still an awful lot of answers with this ongoing police investigation into the serious claims that have been made, and I think it's great that we continue to seek answers from Nicola Sturgeon.”

Asked if he thought Mr Sturgeon’s Tuesday statement had been sincere, Ms Ross said: “I thought it was very interesting that after a similar event like this with Colin Beattie, which was probably going to lead most of your papers, the former first minister appeared in parliament for the first time.

“I've always thought every decision and action taken by Nicola Sturgeon was calculated and I still believe that to be the case.”

Asked if he thought she was essentially trying to knock Mr Beattie off the headlines given the closeness of the motorhome to her, he said: “Well, having watched Colin Beattie’s huddle, I could imagine a number of front pages had been written with two or three of the stories that he pledged not to give you when he walked up the stairs, and then along came the former First Minister, not really expected, and then, understandably, became the main story.” 

An SNP spokesperson said: “This is nothing more than a desperate diversion from Douglas Ross to distract from his disastrous Tory party conference where he has just been humiliated by his own leader. As an elected member of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon was in Parliament this week working for her constituents.”