Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and the former Scottish National Party chief executive, has been arrested as part of a fraud investigation.

Police Scotland said a 58-year-old man is being held in custody in connection with an investigation into the funding and finances of the party.

The investigation was launched after complaints about the SNP’s handling of £600,000 in donations raised by the party ostensibly to campaign for and hold a second independence referendum.

The addresses being searched were thought to include Sturgeon and Murrell’s home in Glasgow, and the SNP’s headquarters close to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.

A blue tent was erected outside Murrell and Sturgeon’s home, which was cordoned off with police tape.

Scotland’s first minister and SNP leader, Humza Yousaf, said reports that Murrell has been arrested were “challenging” but declined to comment on the live police investigation.

“The news this morning, it’s challenging and it’s difficult,” Yousaf told reporters. “The SNP has fully cooperated with the investigation, and it will continue to do so,” he said.

In a statement, the SNP said: “Clearly it would not be appropriate to comment on any live police investigation but the SNP have been co-operating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so.

“At its meeting on Saturday, the governing body of the SNP, the NEC, agreed to a review of governance and transparency – that will be taken forward in the coming weeks.”

The arrest marks a new low point for the SNP after months of political drama. Sturgeon’s resignation was followed by Murrell quitting his position last month following the row over SNP membership numbers.

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