Nicola Sturgeon is facing fresh pressure today after a former SNP leadership hopeful urged her to resign her membership of the party until the end of the police probe.
Ash Regan’s demand comes after the former First Minister was arrested yesterday before being released without charge following almost seven hours in custody.
There have already been calls from Scottish Labour and the Scottish Tories for Ms Sturgeon to be suspended from the SNP by Humza Yousaf.
But Ms Regan insisted the ex-SNP leader should voluntarily resign until the police investigation into the party’s finances has been completed.
The SNP MSP told Sky News: “It’s a matter for Nicola Sturgeon obviously but I think that she should consider whether it might be appropriate considering what has been going on over the last few weeks for her to resign her party membership voluntarily and temporarily until this situation is resolved.”
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Ms Regan added: “The SNP has a code of conduct, I imagine that’s similar to other political parties, and one of the parts of that is members should be very careful with their conduct that they don’t cause damage to the party.
“My view is that Nicola should be considering whether it would be the right thing for her to do for her commitment to the party and also the smooth running of the Scottish Government, because I think this could be seen as a distraction right now, for her to resign her party membership.”
The move would mean she remains the MSP for Glasgow Southside but sit as an independent.
Ms Regan added that if Ms Sturgeon does not resign her membership, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Mr Yousaf should look at suspending her.
She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I think he should consider it.
“I would caveat that, and I think she no doubt will be considering whether she should resign from the party at the moment.”
It comes as she became the third SNP figure to be arrested as part of the police probe into the party’s finances, which centres on £600,000 crowdfunded from members for an independence campaign.
Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy today said it would be “right and proper” for Ms Sturgeon to be suspended.
He said: “I think it’s incumbent upon Humza Yousaf to try as far as possible to put distance between himself and the crisis, chaos and scandal engulfing his party.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie also called for Ms Sturgeon’s suspension, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The question in my mind is, given all this chaos, given the kind of secrecy and cover-up that has been the hallmark of how the SNP operate, is whether Humza Yousaf, the current First Minister, is indeed strong enough to suspend her and protect the party.
“I’ve no doubt in my mind, he absolutely needs to do that.”