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SNP finances used to buy £110,000 campervan intended as ‘battle bus’

3 min read

Police continue the search of Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell’s house

A £110,000 luxury motorhome seized from the driveway of Peter Murrell’s mother’s house was reportedly bought using SNP funds to be used as a “battle bus”, according to reports this morning. Despite the luxury purchase purpose, it was never used and instead spent two years sitting on Mrs Murrell’s driveway.

Over the weekend it emerged that as well as the police raiding the Glasgow home of Mr Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon, they had seized a £110,000 motorhome amid a probe into missing party finances stemming from Peter Murrell’s time as the party’s Chief Executive.

Officers confiscated the top of the range vehicle from outside 92-year-old Margaret Murrell’s home last Wednesday, 50 miles from Ms Sturgeon’s house.

Today the Daily Record reports an SNP source claiming the motorhome was bought during the Covid pandemic for use in the Spring 2021 Holyrood election campaign, in order to aid politicians around the campaign trail.

However a local told the paper that the vehicle “had not been moved since it was delivered in January 2021”.

The SNP source told the Record: “The campervan was about trying to have the ability to campaign while complying with the rules. It would have acted as a mobile campaign room.

“It would mean not having a need for hotels and minimise mixing.”

A party insider said: “It was not a great idea.”

A neighbour of Margaret Murrell said two unmarked police cars had pulled up beside her bungalow to take the vehicle last week.

They said: “It happened at about 9am, which is about the same time they started raiding Peter’s house I think.

“They couldn’t get into the motorhome at first because it was locked and it had clamps on it so they had to get some keys from somewhere.

“They went off but came back and managed to get it open. Then they loaded it on the back of a huge lorry and – after a bit of trouble securing it – took it away.”

Another neighbour claimed: “It’s been there for two and a quarter years and it has not moved. It was brought here by two men.”

Yesterday Humza Yousaf refused to “comment on a live police investigation”.

The party is currently in free-fall after the scandal broke.

Last Friday it sensationally emerged the party’s auditors had resigned after a decade of overseeing the party’s accounts.

However in an interview yesterday, Ms Sturgeon’s successor as First Minister claimed the auditors in fact quit six months ago.

Mr Yousaf claimed he did not know about the move by Johnston Carmichael prior to taking over as leader of the SNP.

He added he could not “comment on what was done prior to me becoming a leader of the SNP”

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It also emerged yesterday that the party had told the Electoral Commission they are having “difficulty” finding new auditors as the July deadline for filing its accounts looms.

Failing to meet the summer deadline could result in a fine.

The investigation centres around a ring-fenced £600,000 independence campaign fund that was raised by the party, but it is understood complaints have been made that the cash “may have been used improperly by being spent elsewhere”.

Mr Murrell was questioned for 11 hours by Police Scotland last week, and was released without charge “pending further investigation”.

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