Nicola Sturgeon: I only knew about police search when officers knocked on door
Nicola Sturgeon has said she did not know police investigating the SNP’s finances were going to search her home until officers knocked on the door.
But the former Scottish first minister insisted she had “faith” that Police Scotland’s actions were “justified”.
Describing the day officers turned up at the home she shares with her husband, former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, as “not the best day of my life”, Ms Sturgeon said she was “absolutely certain I have done nothing wrong”.
It’s obviously been a really difficult, traumatic experience
Officers from Police Scotland searched the couple’s home, in the outskirts of Glasgow, in April, with Mr Murrell arrested and questioned by police before being released without charge.
Ms Sturgeon was arrested, and also released without charge, in June.
She spoke about the “really difficult, traumatic experience” as she appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Iain Dale’s All Talk show.
The broadcaster asked her if she had quit as first minister and SNP leader earlier this year because she had “got wind” of developments in the police investigation, which is probing the whereabouts of about £600,000 that was donated to the SNP for independence campaigning.
Ms Sturgeon said she was aware of the investigation, known as Operation Branchform, telling the audience: “It had been under way for years. I was aware of that.”
But regarding the developments in that investigation, she insisted: “I had no idea what was about to happen.”
Ms Sturgeon said if she had had “any idea about what was going to unfold” she would “not have been able to function” in the period between announcing her departure in February and leaving office at the end of March.
Asked when she first realised the search of her home was happening, she said: “When it happened.”
Dale asked her if that was “literally the knock on the door?”
Ms Sturgeon told him: “Yes. I’m not going to go any further into that, maybe one day I will be able to.”
She continued: “It’s obviously been a really difficult, traumatic experience. People live through worse, I’m not going to overstate that.
“My touchstone I guess in all of it, all along, is I am confident in my own position. I am absolutely certain I have done nothing wrong.
“Therefore I need to and do trust in the process.
“The police are doing a job and therefore I have to have faith that everything they are doing in the process of that is justified.
“I am going to continue to have faith in that.
“The touchstone is the confidence in my own position.”
She revealed that when her husband was being questioned by police she had gone to her parents, saying: “Always go back to your mammy and daddy.”
She added: “I can’t even remember everything that was going through my head at that point. It was not the best day of my life, put it that way.”
However she refused to comment on her husband, only saying: “My marriage is not something anybody should worry about.”
Speaking about the police investigation, Ms Sturgeon stated: “This is a serious process and in that process I am not going to speak for anybody other than myself, because I only can speak for myself.”
Asked if the couple talked about such events while together, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think I am choosing when I can to try to talk about happier things.”
She added that in the past few months she had “found depths of resilience I didn’t know I had and I thought I had plumbed them over the course of the Covid experience”.
The former SNP leader also said an “indispensable” group of friends had helped her through this period.
She told the audience: “There’s a group of people, my closest friends, that have been utterly indispensable to me in the last few months, I probably wouldn’t have the emotional wherewithal to sit here right now but for them.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “It’s not an experience I would ever have chosen, obviously, but even out of the toughest things I am finding you learn things about yourself and you learn things about life.”
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