Nicola Sturgeon yesterday claimed the SNP is not "in a mess" – only going through "growing pains".

The "mess" comment had been made by interim chief executive Mike Russell on Sunday after he replaced Ms Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell.

The party has lost 32,000 members since December 2021, but initially denied the decline.

Mr Murrell took responsibility for misleading the media and resigned on Saturday.

The BBC was told he had been set to face a vote of no confidence by the National Executive Committee had he not stepped down.

The soon-to-depart first minister was asked about Mr Russell's remarks during an appearance on ITV's Loose Women on Monday.


Ms Sturgeon said: "Mike was referring to some of the issues around the leadership race.

"The SNP is not in a mess. It's going through some growing pains right now - they are necessary, but they're difficult. But I'm stepping down from a party that hasn't lost an election since 2010 in Scotland."

The first minister told Loose Women that the party had "mishandled" the situation.

On the denial of membership numbers to the media, she said: "We were asked a specific question - not about what's the size of your membership, but have you lost 30,000 members because of X and Y?

"We answered in that sense -we should have framed it in a bigger way. So these things are all opportunities to learn and reflect."

Mr Russell has told the BBC that the three leadership candidates could have confidence in the contest.


All three have pledged to reform the SNP's operations.

Ms Sturgeon said it was important for the party not to "throw the baby out with the bath water" and lose things that have made them successful in the past.

She added: "Perspective is important in these things. We don't know this for sure because other parties in Scotland don't tell us what their membership figures are but, on the most recent assessments, even with that decline, the SNP has more members in Scotland than all of the other parties combined.

"We are the only mass-membership party in the country."

Looking towards her final days as first minister this week, Ms Sturgeon said she hopes to continue championing issues that are important to her.

She said she would not follow in the footsteps of Matt Hancock who took part in ITV's I'm A Celebrity reality show, adding: "I can say categorically - definitely no Strictly, definitely no jungle.

Asked "What about Bake Off?", she replied: "I can't cook or bake."

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