NICOLA Sturgeon’s appearance at the Scottish parliament which saw her tell journalists that the police probe into SNP finances had been “very traumatic” was engineered to keep the party’s beleaguered former treasurer off the front pages, Douglas Ross has suggested.

The Scottish Tory leader told media at his party’s conference on Friday that he thought “every decision and action taken by Nicola Sturgeon was calculated”.

On Tuesday, SNP MSP Colin Beattie spoke to journalists at Holyrood for the first time since he was arrested amid the police probe into the party’s finances.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon takes jab at media for presence outside her home

The former SNP treasurer said he did not know of the party’s purchase of a £110,000 campervan until he went through the annual accounts in 2021.

Around two and a half hours later, Sturgeon spoke to press at the Scottish parliament.

However, it is understood that Sturgeon had left her house for Holyrood before Beattie’s interview took place.

The former first minister said that the police probe – which had also seen the arrest of her husband Peter Murrell – had been “in some respects very traumatic”.

“I could not have anticipated in my worst nightmares what would have unfolded over the past few weeks,” Sturgeon said.

The following day, Sturgeon appeared on the front pages of many Scottish papers, including the Times, Sun, National, Herald, Daily Mail, Express, and Scotsman.

At the Tory conference, Scottish Tory leader Ross suggested that the former SNP leader had made an appearance deliberately to have the focus be on her and not Beattie.

The Conservative MSP said: “I personally believe … I thought it was very interesting that after a similar event like this [a press huddle] with Colin Beattie, which was probably going to lead most of your papers, the former first minister appeared in parliament for the first time.

“So, I’ve always thought every decision and action taken by Nicola Sturgeon was calculated and I still believe that to be the case.”

He was also asked by journalists if he had felt sorry for Sturgeon.

“No,” Ross replied. “Look, this has been brought upon [the SNP] by herself. Her actions, the secrecy that she had presided over within her party, and her government.

“I think most people don’t want an attempt – and I think Nicola Sturgeon said this herself – to get sympathy from the public, they want answers.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “This is nothing more than a desperate diversion from Douglas Ross to distract from his disastrous Tory Party conference where he has just been humiliated by his own leader.

"As an elected member of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon was in Parliament this week working for her constituents.”

Both Beattie and Murrell were released without charge after being questioned by police.