A SECOND SNP MSP has said Ms Sturgeon should resign the party whip  saying she had had to do this when she was an MP despite not being "personally under investigation" and "certainly not arrested".

Michelle Thomson, who was campaign manager for Kate Forbes in the SNP leadership contest this Spring, stressed she was a "strong believer in natural justice", including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in court.

But speaking about Ms Sturgeon said: "The processes set up by the SNP under her leadership were clear. Some eight years ago, when an MP, I was required to resign the SNP whip although I was never personally under investigation and was certainly not arrested.

"After careful consideration, I feel the right thing for the former first minister to do is to resign the SNP whip.

The Herald:

SNP MSP and former MP Michelle Thomson. 

"This is not because she doesn't deserve to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, she does, but because her values should be consistent."

Ms Sturgeon's arrest is the third relating to the police probe, after her husband - and former party chief executive - Peter Murrell and ex-treasurer Colin Beattie.
Both men were also released without charge pending further investigation.

Ms Thomson, now an SNP MSP, resigned the party whip amid an investigation into allegations of fraud.  She was later cleared by prosecutors and readmitted to the party and elected to Holyrood in 2021.

The Falkirk East MSP spoke out after her backbench colleague Ash Regan, a former party leadership contender, called for Ms Sturgeon to resign her party membership while the police inquiry was ongoing.

Ms Regan's intervention prompted criticism from SNP MSP James Dornan who suggested the Edinburgh MSP was reiterated calls by the Alba party, led by Ms Sturgeon's predecessoor as first minister Alex Salmond.

Responding on Twitter to a newspaper headline reported that Ms Regan was calling for Ms Sturgeon to voluntarily give up her SNP membership, Mr Dornan wrote: "Advice best taken by yourself Ash. Very disappointing though not surprising to see you echoing Alba calls."

SNP MP Angus MacNeil yesterday called for the former first minister to be suspended by the party.

The issue of whether or not Ms Sturgeon should remain in the party following her arrest is a point of difference among SNP parliamentarians.

After the internal party calls for her to give up her party membeship, First Minister Humza Yousaf, regarded in the leadership contest as the "continuity candidate" to Ms Sturgeon, this afternoon said he would not suspend her from the party. 

On a visit to Inverness, the First Minister said he said “no reason” to withdraw the party whip from his predecessor as she had been released without charge on Sunday.

He added:  "I will do what I believe is right to the values of natural justice.

"Nicola Sturgeon, like Colin Beattie, like Peter Murrell, was released without charge. Therefore I see no reason for their membership to be suspended."

Asked if Ms Sturgeon should voluntarily resign, the First Minister added: "There is no pressure on her to do so from me or the SNP."

Ms Sturgeon was arrested yesterday by officers as part of the long running Operation Branchform into SNP funding and finances.

She was questioned for seven hours and released without charge pending further inquiries.
The former first minister later released a statement saying she was “innocent of any wrongdoing”.