Keith Brown defends FM for not suspending Nicola Sturgeon from the SNP

Keith Brown said other cases in which the party’s MSPs have been suspended while allegations involving them are investigated were in “other circumstances”.

Over the weekend, Ms Sturgeon was arrested as the SNP’s third figure and was being questioned by investigators as part of the ongoing investigation into the party’s finances.

Like former chief executive Peter Murrell – Ms Sturgeon’s husband – and former treasurer Colin Beattie, she was released without charge pending further investigation.

CONTINUE READING: Arrest of Nicola Sturgeon: SNP MP calls for clarity on whip removal

On Tuesday, Mr Brown said on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland program that he “certainly” agrees with Mr Yousaf’s decision not to suspend his predecessor as the investigation is still ongoing.

He said: “I think it’s in the interest of natural justice, the principle that Humza, the First Minister, follows.”

SNP MP Michelle Thomson was among those calling for Ms Sturgeon’s resignation amid the ongoing investigation.

Ms Thomson argued that even as an MP she was forced to step down in 2015 despite not being “personally investigated” and “let alone arrested”.

Former front runner Ash Regan and MP Angus MacNeil, both critics of Ms Sturgeon’s leadership, had also proposed suspending her.

CONTINUE READING: After the arrest of Nicola Sturgeon, Humza Yousaf is increasingly called to action

Mr Brown said Ms Thomson had made the decision to withdraw from the SNP group in Westminster.

He said: “In each of these situations there are different circumstances.
“I accept that and I will, but in the current case, Nicola Sturgeon has not been charged – in fact, she has not been charged at all.”

“The arrest, in my opinion, is something dramatic.

“Perhaps it is not well understood that the arrest is just a means of ensuring that police questioning and intelligence gathering is formalized.”

He also raised the case of Boris Johnson and said Conservatives had not called for his suspension despite a police investigation.

The SNP deputy leader said Ms Sturgeon had “strongly defended” her own innocence and was not aware of any complaints that had been filed with the party members’ conduct committee.

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