NICOLA Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to say if her husband Peter Murrell is innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the SNP's finances. 

The former first minister was speaking to journalists after she returned to Holyrood for the first time since her arrest earlier this month. 

While she said she was "absolutely certain that I have done nothing wrong" she declined to answer when asked if the same was true of her husband or anyone else in the party.

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Earlier this month, detectives questioned the ex-SNP leader for seven hours before releasing her without charge, pending further investigation. 

She was the third person to be arrested in connection with Operation Branchform, the Police Scotland probe into the party’s funding and finances.  

Mr Murrell, formerly the SNP's chief executive, and Colin Beattie, the then treasurer, were arrested and released without charge earlier in the year.

As part of the investigation, both SNP HQ in Edinburgh and the Glasgow home Ms Sturgeon shares with Mr Murrell were searched by police. 

A luxury campervan was seized from outside the home of Mr Murrell's 92-year-old mother. 

Police are investigating whether £600,000 raised for fighting an independence referendum has been spent on other things. 

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Ms Sturgeon said she had called the press conference in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday as she wants to be able to get on with her job.

She said: “I respect and fully understand the process that is underway. I am absolutely certain that I have done nothing wrong.”

“It’s not been the best period in my life. It’s not an easy period. I’m not saying that for sympathy,” she added. “The thing that sustains me right now is the certainty that I have done nothing wrong.

Asked if Mr Murrell was also innocent of wrongdoing, she replied: “Before I say what I'm about to say, I'm saying it as a statement of fact, not a loaded statement that you should read anything into one way or the other. 

“But in a situation like this, I can only speak for myself and I am speaking for myself. 

“There is also a difference between me and my husband. “I'm an elected politician, I'm a public servant, and therefore there is an expectation, I think a legitimate expectation on your part that I make statements and to the best of my ability answer questions, obviously Peter is not in that position.”

Asked if she was sure nobody else in the SNP had done anything wrong, she replied: “This is a statement of fact, so don't read anything one way or the other into this, I can only speak for myself in these matters. I'm here speaking for myself, and as I have done previously, expressing my certainty that I have done nothing.” 

First Minister Humza Yousaf has so far refused to suspend Ms Sturgeon from the party, saying he believes in “natural justice”.

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Responding to Ms Sturgeon's comments, Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “Last week Nicola Sturgeon was in hiding and now she’s come out fighting. But her latest ‘I’ve-done-nothing-wrong’ press conference is unlikely to have pleased either her husband or Michelle Thomson.

“While the former First Minister was adamant she was innocent of wrongdoing in the SNP finances scandal, she pointedly refused to give any such assurances on behalf of Peter Murrell.

“Michelle Thomson is rightly annoyed that she was forced to give up the SNP whip by her then-leader Nicola Sturgeon, who is now refusing to follow her own precedent.

“But rather than apologise to her colleague, Nicola Sturgeon would only say she understood her anger, which will be cold comfort to those suspended under her leadership."