PETER Murrell, the SNP’s chief executive and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, has resigned with immediate effect.

Reports had suggested members of the SNP’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) threatened a vote of no confidence in him. It follows the departure of the SNP media chief Murray Foote, who left on Friday amid a row over the party’s membership numbers.

In a statement, Murrell said: “Responsibility for the SNP’s responses to media queries about our membership number lies with me as chief executive. While there was no intent to mislead, I accept that this has been the outcome. I have therefore decided to confirm my intention to step down as chief executive with immediate effect.

“I had not planned to confirm this decision until after the leadership election.

The National:

“However as my future has become a distraction from the campaign I have concluded that I should stand down now, so the party can focus fully on issues about Scotland’s future.

“The election contest is being run by the National Secretary and I have had no role in it at any point.”

Murrell had been in the post since 1999.

Murrell continued: “I am very proud of what has been achieved in my time as chief executive and of the part I have played in securing the electoral success the party has enjoyed over almost two decades.

READ MORE: SNP MP calls for inquiry after Murray Foote quits as comms boss

“14 national election wins is testament to the skills of the dedicated and talented HQ team that I have been privileged to lead.

“They give their all to the party and the independence cause and I thank them for it.

“I have worked for independence all my life and will continue to do so, albeit in a different capacity, until it is achieved – and I do firmly believe that independence is now closer than ever.”

The news comes after Murray Foote, former editor of the Daily Record, announced he was leaving his role after being given incorrect SNP membership numbers to give to the media by party HQ.

The SNP released membership figures on Thursday, confirming that there are 72,186 paid-up members voting in the leadership contest. 

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