NICOLA Sturgeon is facing calls from fellow SNP MSPs to quit the party in the wake of her arrest. 

On BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, former SNP leadership contender Ash Regan called yesterday’s arrest “a very concerning situation” and agreed with Tory chairman Craig Hoy that it was a distraction for the Scottish Government.

Michelle Thomson, who was suspended from the SNP after she withdrew from the party whip in 2015 when she was linked with a police investigation, has also called on Sturgeon to quit the party. 

Earlier, Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP for the Western Isles, suggested that the former first minister should be suspended to give the party "political distance". 

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Regan said the finance probe has the potential to “become a distraction” and argued there must “be a separation” between party and government.

She said: “It is difficult - Humza is filling a dual role here, he is [the] leader of the party, and he is also [the] leader of the government as well, and I think he needs to very, clearly focus.

“We are going through difficult times at the moment, everyone understands that in Scotland, in terms of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The government has to be completely focused on delivering public services and delivering for the people of Scotland in these difficult times.

“I think that Nicola should perhaps consider voluntarily resigning her SNP membership until this can be cleared up.”

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Regan reflected on her leadership bid and called for accountability and transparency to be shown, a main strand of her leadership campaign. 

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP said if Sturgeon did resign from the party, “that would reaffirm her commitment to principles of the party”.

When asked if Sturgeon decides to not resign, should Yousaf suspend the former first minister, Regan said: “I think he should consider it, yes.”

Thomson, who represents Falkirk East in the Scottish Parliament, said: "Some eight years ago when an MP, I was required to resign the SNP whip although I was never personally under investigation and was certainly not arrested. 

"After careful consideration, I feel that the right thing for the former first minister to do is resign the SNP whip. 

"This is not because she doesn't deserve to be treated as innocent until proven guilty - she does - but because her values should be consistent."

Opposition politicians from Scottish Labour and the Scottish Tories also called for Sturgeon to be suspended. 

READ MORE: Tories call for Nicola Sturgeon to be suspended in wake of arrest

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “shocking state of affairs although not surprising, because I think we all anticipated that at some point Nicola Sturgeon would be arrested for questioning about the SNP finances because she is, of course, the third signatory on the accounts”.

Bailie added: “The question in my mind is, given all this chaos, given the kind of secrecy and cover-up that has been the hallmark of how the SNP operate, is whether Humza Yousaf, the current First Minister, is indeed strong enough to suspend her and protect the party.

“I’ve no doubt in my mind, he absolutely needs to do that.”

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Asked what the consequences have been for Scottish politics, Baillie (pictured above) said: “The impact has been profound, irrespective of what the outcome is.

“The SNP appeal to the people of Scotland based on them projecting an image of being kind of morally superior to the ‘corrupt politics’, if you like, of the rest of the UK – now that clearly doesn’t work for them anymore.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said First Minister Humza Yousaf must "now show some leadership and suspend his predecessor from the SNP".

We told how Sturgeon was released without charge after seven hours on Sunday.

In a strong statement following her release, the former first minister insisted she was "innocent beyond doubt".