Nicola Sturgeon will have no official role at Winnie Ewing's memorial service, The Herald can reveal.

Instead, Alex Salmond, the former first minister and Alba leader, and SNP veteran and former cabinet secretary Alex Neil will each deliver eulogies to the SNP icon at a memorial service organised by her family.

Mr Salmond was selected for a central role in the ceremony as the party leader who knew Mrs Ewing best, relatives have said, according to a report this morning.

Ms Sturgeon was arrested last month by police investigating the SNP's finances as part of the long running Operation Branchform.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black to stand down as an MP at the next election

Her arrest followed that of her husband Peter Murrell and former party treasurer Colin Beattie MSP. All three were released without charge pending further inquiries.

Asked if Ms Sturgeon would have a role at the memorial service, a source close to the Ewing family told The Herald: "No official role." 

The former first minister was among the many people across Scottish politics to pay tribute to Mrs Ewing after her passing on June 21 aged 93 was announced last month.

The Herald:

Winnie Ewing pictured in Westminster after being elected as an SNP MP the Hamilton by election in 1967.  Photo: The Herald.

She wrote on Twitter: "Heartbroken by this news. I can’t begin to convey the depth of gratitude I feel for the advice, wisdom, encouragement and inspiration Winnie gave me and so many others over the years. She was a master of the art of campaigning and it was a privilege to learn from her.

"Today, Scotland has lost one of her foremost patriots and champions, the SNP and the independence movement have lost a beloved icon, and Fergus, Annabelle and Terry have lost their mum. My condolences to them and the wider family. Thank you Madame Ecosse.

READ MORE: Tributes made to 'Madame Ecosse' Winnie Ewing who has died

"Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on’. Winnie Ewing MP, MEP, MSP - our beloved Madame Écosse - did more than anyone to internationalise the independence movement and make it the outward-looking force we are today."

Humza Yousaf, the first minister, and Kate Forbes, whom he defeated in the leadership race in March, along with Holyrood’s presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, will all give readings at the service to be held at 2pm on Saturday, July 15, at Inverness Cathedral.

The service will be conducted by the Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Bishop of the Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness, and the Very Reverend Sarah Murray, Provost of Inverness Cathedral. Gaelic songs will be performed by Julie Foulis, accompanied by her husband Eamon Doorley. Mrs Ewing's grand-daughter Ciara will also sing.

Mrs Ewing was elected to the House of Commons in the 1967 Hamilton by-election and served as president of the party from 1987 to 2005.  After becoming the SNP's first female MP, and second MP ever to be elected, she famously told the press: "Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on".

Her son Fergus and daughter Annabelle are both MSPs at Holyrood.

Mrs Ewing's election to Westminster in 1967 was a breakthrough which marked the start of the SNP's rise throughout the 1970s.

READ MORE: Winnie Ewing: Possibility of a breakthrough and the hope of victory

Mr Salmond’s prominence in the service has believed to have raised eyebrows among some SNP politicians who blame him for stoking divisions after quitting to set up the Alba party.

One MSP told The Times: “Not everyone will understand or agree with the choice, but this is a decision for the family to make.”

Mr Neil said: “Winnie Ewing is an outstanding figure in the modern history of Scotland who kickstarted what became the ascendancy of the independence movement.”

As the oldest qualified member, it was Mrs Ewing's duty to preside over the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, a session she opened with the statement: “The Scottish parliament, adjourned on the 25th day of March in the year 1707, is hereby reconvened.”

A private funeral service attended by family colleagues and friends was held last week in New Kilpatrick church, Bearsden, at which her son, Fergus, led the tributes.

MPs in the Commons on Tuesday night celebrated the life of the former MSP, MP and MEP who was known as “Madame Ecosse”.

The former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told MPs that the fact that she served in three legislatures made her unique among Scottish politicians.

He spoke about the significance of her by-election win. He said: “Winnie lit a spark that night, and the fire from that spark has shone brightly ever since.”

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP, said: “It’s hard to believe that somebody of her stature will emerge in the theatre of Scottish politics certainly for a long, long time . . . what a life, what a contrition, what a legend Winnie Ewing is.”

The Liberal Democrat Highland MP Jamie Stone said her passing was mourned by many. He said: “This lady, she transcended party politics, she cut right through to ordinary folk in Scotland, and that was a tremendous strength, a rare strength.”

John Lamont, the Scotland office minister, said she was an inspiration to many and a unique voice. He added: “There is no doubt Winnie Ewing was a trailblazer and a strong role model whose high profile made it easier for other women, on all sides, to follow in her footsteps.”

The memorial service for Mrs Ewing will be live-streamed to Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo. All are welcome to attend.