NICOLA Sturgeon has said the media would have made it impossible for her to do her job as an MSP or even go inside her own house if she had not fielded questions about her arrest.

The former first minister was speaking to reporters at Holyrood, where she was appearing for the first time since she was questioned as part of Police Scotland’s probe into SNP finances, when she made the comments.

Members of the media had questioned whether, in holding a short press conference outside her house on Sunday and another in parliament on Tuesday, Sturgeon was being “unhelpful to [her] successor” – despite saying in one of her final interviews as SNP leader that that was the last thing she wanted.

She responded: “Firstly, there is a process underway that I am not in control of. Clearly if I was in control of [it] I would not be standing here right now, and I don’t say that to be light-hearted in any way. There is nothing about this that I am light-hearted about.

“But, you’ve characterised that question there to suggest that I am somehow choosing to stand before you right now. [‘Are you not?’, journalists interjected.]

“Well, I am choosing to do it because, and I should say this is not a criticism of you it is you doing your job, but if I hadn’t done this today, then I couldn’t have come here to parliament and gone about my job.

“I wouldn’t have been able to walk through this lobby without all of you trying to, in an impromptu way, do what is done.

“I couldn’t have gone back inside my own house on Sunday because there were members of the media outside, without stopping to speak, or you would all have, understandably, stayed out there.

“So I’m doing these things in order to subject myself to the scrutiny that you’re all entitled to subject me to as an elected politician. And also to try and give myself the ability, not withstanding what’s going on right now, to do my job, because I have a job to do on behalf of my constituents.”

Sturgeon further fielded questions on her arrest amid Police Scotland's "Operation Branchform" probe into how around £600,000 raised by the party for a second independence referendum had been spent.

She spent nearly seven hours in custody after being arrested on Sunday June 11, before she was released without charge pending further investigation.

The former SNP leader said she could not talk about the grounds for her arrest, claiming she would be “trespassing on the detail” of the investigation.

Peter Murrell, Sturgeon’s husband and the SNP’s former chief executive, was also arrested, questioned, and released without charge amid the police probe.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon and husband Peter Murrell

Asked if Murrell was innocent of any wrongdoing, Sturgeon said she could only speak for herself and people should not “read anything into one way or the other”.

The former SNP leader said: “Before I say what I'm about to say, I'm saying it as a statement of fact, not a loaded statement that you should read anything into one way or the other. 

“But in a situation like this, I can only speak for myself and I am speaking for myself. 

“There is also a difference between me and my husband. I'm an elected politician, I'm a public servant, and therefore there is an expectation, I think a legitimate expectation on your part, that I make statements and to the best of my ability answer questions. Obviously Peter is not in that position.”

Asked later if she was confident that nobody in the SNP was guilty of any wrongdoing, Sturgeon repeated: “This is a statement of fact, so don't read anything one way or the other into this, I can only speak for myself in these matters. 

“I'm here speaking for myself, and as I have done previously, expressing my certainty that I have done nothing.” 

Sturgeon was also asked if she should stand down from the SNP while the investigation was ongoing, but she made no commitment to do so.

“The SNP has been my life and that’s been something that has been voluntary and something that I cherish," she said.

Highlighting previous comments that the SNP is her extended family, she went on: “That’s the depth of love, affection and concern I have for the SNP.

“I respect and fully understand the process that is under way. I am absolutely certain that I have done nothing wrong.

“It’s not been the best period in my life. It’s not an easy period. I’m not saying that for sympathy … The thing that sustains me right now is the certainty that I have done nothing wrong. It is a belief and a certainty that I have.”