The upcoming departure of Nicola Sturgeon as first minister and the resignation of her husband Peter Murrell as SNP chief executive marks the end of an era.
The couple have been at the helm of the party for almost a decade.
Ms Sturgeon, who became SNP leader and first minister in 2014, resigned last month.
The SNP leadership race has now led to the dramatic resignation of her husband, who had been the party’s chief executive since 1999.
Here, we chart the timeline of events that have led to the power couple stepping down from their reign.
27 October 2022: Community safety minister Ash Regan Quits the Scottish government shortly before MSPs begin debating the first stage of the Gender Recognition Reform (scotland) Bill, which would make it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate. A total of seven SNP MSPs break the whip to vote against the controversial bill.
23 November 2022: The UK Supreme Court rules that the Scottish parliament does not have the power to legislate for indyref2 without Westminster approval. Ms. Sturgeon vows to use the next general election as a “de facto referendum” on independence and announces that a special SNP conference will be held in the new year to discuss and agree plans.
December 2022: Polling at the end of the year shows a small majority – excluding don’t know – in support of independence. Ms Sturgeon also remains the leader with the highest satisfaction rating across the UK, scoring 52%. In comparison, Rishi Sunak receives a negative net satisfaction rating among Scots, with 53% dissatisfied with the prime minister’s performance.
17 January 2023: The UK government uses section 35 of the Scotland Act to block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from receiving royal assent.
22 January 2023: Following the resignation of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda ArdernMs Sturgeon says she is “nowhere near” ready to quit as Scotland’s first minister and still has “plenty in the tank”.
24 January 2023: Transgender woman Isla Bryson is found guilty of raping two women. The attacks occurred prior to Bryson’s transition from when they were known as Adam Graham. Within days, the argument surrounding the GRR bill explodes after it is discovered that Bryson is being housed within Scotland’s only all-female jail ahead of sentencing. Following a public outcry, Bryson is moved from Cornton Vale to the male estate.
12 February 2023: The Sunday Mail reports that up to 30,000 members have removed the SNPs in response to the party’s gender reforms and the stalling of independence. The SNP claims the report is “both malicious and wholly inaccurate”, adding: “Fortunately, few people are gullible enough to believe it.”
15 February 2023: Ms Sturgeon announces she will stand down as SNP leader and first minister. She says: “In my head and in my heart, I know that time is now.”
24 February 2023: Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan are confirmed as the three candidates in the running to replace Ms Sturgeon as first minister and SNP leader.
28 February 2023: Transgender double rapist Isla Bryson is jailed for eight years.
Sturgeon ‘has not heard from police’ over probe into SNP finances
SNP has lost around 30,000 party members since 2021
Does hunger for independence remain in Scotland’s ‘Yes’ towns and cities?
In Full: Watch the SNP Leadership Debate
Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts
March 12, 2023: Concerns are once again raised over the exact size of the SNP membership after the Mail on Sunday reports only 78,000 online forms are being sent out for the leadership vote.
March 15, 2023: Ms Regan, Ms Forbes and Mr Yousaf Pile pressure on the SNP to be more transparent over the ballot process. Ms Regan and Ms Forbes join forces to write an open letter to SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, who is also Ms Sturgeon’s husband. The trio call for the party to reveal the number of paid-up members, as well as the number of digital voting documents and postal voting papers issued.
March 16, 2023: Following pressure, the SNP finally reveal that just 72,186 members are eligible to vote in the party leadership contest – a drop of around 30,000 members since 2021.
March 17, 2023: Liz Lloyd, Ms Sturgeon’s strategic adviser and long-time chief of staff, announces she will leave the Scottish government when the first minister does. Murray Foote, the SNP’s head of communications, also announces his resignation from him. Mr Foote, who initially described the Sunday Mail’s story as “drivel”, claims he acted in “good faith” when issuing agreed party responses to media inquiries regarding membership numbers.
March 18, 2023: Peter Murrell resigns with immediate effect as the SNP’s chief executive. Reports suggest members of the SNP’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) threatened a vote of no confidence. Shouldering the blame for the party’s responses to the media over membership numbers, Mr Murrell accepts: “While there was no intent to mislead, I accept that this has been the outcome.” In response, Ms Sturgeon, tells Sky News that her husband intended to step down but “was right” to announce his immediate resignation.
March 20, 2023: Ms. Sturgeon tells Sky News that she has not heard whether police want to interview her or her husband as part of a long-running probe into SNP finances. Police Scotland and the Crown Office are currently investigating how £600,000 raised by the SNP for independence campaigning has been spent. In a Beth Rigby interview due to air at 9pm on Sky News on Monday, Ms Sturgeon responded: “No. I wouldn’t comment on any ongoing police investigation and I am not going to comment on this one.”