Peter Murrell must be replaced with ‘neutral’ SNP chief executive, MP says

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An SNP MP has called for her party to appoint a “neutral” chief executive following news that Nicola Sturgeon’s husband intends to hold onto the post.

Peter Murrell married Ms Sturgeon in 2010 but has been chief executive of the SNP since 1999.

However, following the First Minister’s announcement that she is resigning from the top post and as leader of her party, a senior SNP MP has condemned his decision to stay in the role.

Joanna Cherry has said she cannot see “any circumstances” where Mr Murrell is able to continue as chief executive as she called for fresh takeover of the party’s management.

She had earlier called for “reform” within her party’s leadership structure following the resignation of Ms Sturgeon.

On Twitter, the Edinburgh South West MP said: “The SNP leadership & party management have been deeply bound together. I cannot see any circumstances in which Peter Murrell can continue as chief executive under a new leader who must be free to choose a successor. Meantime we need a neutral caretaker CEO.”

The party is the subject of a police probe into the spending of £600,000 which was earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.

Ms Sturgeon has also been quizzed on finances involved in her husband’s decision to donate more than £100,000 to help with the party’s cashflow.

Ms Cherry has previously been at odds with her party’s leadership following her opposition to controversial gender reforms which makes it easier to self-identify as a chosen gender.

Gender Recognition Reform Bill
Joanna Cherry called for reform within the SNP leadership structure (Lesley Martin/PA)

Following Ms Sturgeon’s resignation, Ms Cherry called for a leadership election that is about “policies and not personalities”.

She said: “We must restore the SNP’s tradition of internal party democracy, open respectful debate and intellectual rigour, and we must also put the welfare of everyone living in Scotland back at the heart of our endeavours.

“There are some huge challenges facing our country and our government. There is also a need for reform and healing within our party. I’m looking forward to playing my role in this process.”

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