Peter Murrell

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Person.png Peter Murrell  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Peter Murrell.webp
Born8 December 1964
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
SpouseNicola Sturgeon

Employment.png CEO link= executive officer

In office
1999 - 18 March 2023
EmployerScottish National Party

Peter Tierney Murrell is the former chief executive officer of the Scottish National Party (SNP). He is married to Nicola Sturgeon, who announced her resignation as the SNP's leader and First Minister of Scotland on 15 February 2023.[1]

On 5 April 2023, Peter Murrell was arrested by Police Scotland, who had been investigating the matter of £660,000 that was raised by the SNP for Scottish Independence campaigning, following allegations of donations fraud. The inquiry, codenamed Operation Branchform, was launched in 2021 after it was alleged that money had been diverted from a “ring-fenced” fund to fight a second Scottish Independence referendum – sparking the resignation of several senior people from the SNP’s ruling body.[2]


Peter Murrell has been chief executive officer of the SNP since 1999 when he took over from Michael Russell. Previously he had worked in the Banff and Buchan constituency office of Alex Salmond, who was former party leader. The party's success in the 2007 elections was credited to the organisation of Murrell.

Behind the-scenes meddling in his role as CEO were said to have earned him the nickname ‘Penfold‘, after Danger Mouse's sidekick in the children's cartoon series.

Murrell was formerly the Company Secretary of Independence Merchandising Limited, a now-dissolved company that included as its directors SNP politicians Pete Wishart and Stewart Stevenson.

In January 2019 Murrell came under pressure to resign from Kenny MacAskill, former SNP Justice Secretary.

Following his testimony to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Murrell was reported to the Lord Advocate by committee member Murdo Fraser, who alleged he had made a "false statement" under oath while giving evidence. Murrell said he “absolutely refuted” the allegation.[3]

Missing £600,000

Peter Murrell is facing questions from SNP members over the alleged disappearance of £600,000 in donations to the party. Police Scotland are currently investigating an allegation of fraud with regards to the same missing £600,000. The Scotsman reported in June 2021, that Police Scotland have been asked to investigate Murrell regarding a donation to SNP from lottery winners Colin and Christine Weir, which they subsequently asked to be returned to them.

Murrell has also faced questions from the Scottish Labour and Conservative parties over a £107,620 interest-free loan made to the SNP on 20 June 2021, that was not declared to the Electoral Commission for more than a year after the July 2021 deadline. The SNP stated that it did not declare the loan as it did not think the matter was reportable. The loan was to assist with cashflow problems at the party.[4]

Call for Murrell to step down

When his wife, Nicola Sturgeon, announced her resignation as First Minister on 15 February 2023, Joanna Cherry, an SNP MP, called for Murrell to step down as CEO of the party stating:

"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."[5]

Murrell resigned with immediate effect on 18 March 2023.[6]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Nicola Sturgeon – Used and Discardedblog post15 February 2023Craig Murray"Numerous sources have reported in the last few days that Police Scotland have now been given the go ahead by the Crown Office to pursue a criminal case over the £600,000 missing money. That seems the most likely explanation for the timing of Nicola Sturgeon's resignation today."


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