Nichola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell is stepping down as SNP chief

Peter Murrell, husband of Nicola Sturgeon, has resigned as SNP chief executive after calls from within the party to resign – while rivals scramble to replace her as leader.

Mr Murrell announced his resignation on Saturday morning after a group of members of the SNP’s governing body tabled a motion to remove him.

A majority of members are ready to support a motion of no confidence in the chief executive if he doesn’t leave voluntarily.

The party is facing political turmoil after Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier this year her intention to step down as First Minister and leader of the SNP.

His resignation follows after SNP media chief Murray Foote left on Friday amid a row over the party’s membership numbers.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell has resigned as chief executive of the SNP

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell has resigned as chief executive of the SNP

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell has resigned as chief executive of the SNP

Mr Foote said after speaking to the party’s headquarters he gave answers to the media who had “serious problems” and he later decided there was a “serious impediment” to his role.

He had previously been reportedly told to dismiss the reports as “inaccurate” and “babbling” – and has been accused of giving a Mail journalist false membership numbers.

On Thursday, the party announced membership was 72,186 as of February 15 this year, after falling from 103,884 in 2021.

Just before Mr Murrell announced his resignation, a senior member of the SNP’s governing body told Sky News: “The buck stops at Peter… he shouldn’t have thrown a younger employee under the bus.”

Mr. Murrell has been the party’s chief executive officer for more than 20 years.

There have also been several protests by SNP members that the leadership contest to determine Ms Sturgeon’s replacement was overseen by her own husband.

SNP lead candidate Kate Forbes today acknowledged “extraordinary turbulence” in the party.

On Saturday, Ms Forbes published an open letter to SNP members who have yet to cast their ballot.

But she herself has been plagued with problems after telling the media she had voted against allowing gay marriage because of her conservative religious beliefs.

She told members: “Many of you, like me, will be hurt and confused by the extraordinary turmoil in our party over the past few days.

“If anyone had any doubts that this must be a swing election for the SNP, recent events and resignations confirm the core message of my campaign: there will be no continuity.”

She continued: “I love the SNP and am passionate about Scotland’s future as an independent, fair and prosperous nation.

“A few years ago, a scandal rocked the SNP and I was asked to come forward and deliver the budget just hours in advance.

“I did it for my party and for the people of this country. That is the hallmark of who I am. I will not shy away from difficult times.

“Instead, I find the solution and give it my all.

“I have a lot of respect for the other two candidates, but I’m the only candidate who can really make a difference as First Minister.”

Ms Forbes, who is on maternity leave from her government role as Treasury Secretary, pledged to reform the party and committed to an independent audit of membership and finances.

Ash Regan, one of the other candidates in the running, tweeted the report that NEC members were urging Mr Murrell to leave.

She said: “I am heartened to see that the party’s democratic foundations are now asserting their rightful functions.”

Fellow leader Humza Yousaf spoke on Mr Foote’s departure on Friday.

He said Mr Foote has been “outstanding since he joined the SNP media team” and that he will be “sorryly missed”.

Mr. Yousaf added: “The reform of our headquarters was an important part of my campaign. With a new party leadership should come a new approach to our HQ operations.’

This is breaking news and will be updated.

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