NICOLA Sturgeon has said the SNP knew nothing of Michelle Thomson’s allegedly dodgy property deals ahead of her selection as a Westminster candidate.

Thomson, the MP for Edinburgh West and the party’s former business spokeswoman, resigned the SNP whip on Tuesday night after Police Scotland confirmed they were to investigate “alleged irregularities” in property deals connected to her company. The SNP also confirmed that Thomson’s membership of the SNP had been suspended.

Speaking to journalists at Holyrood, Sturgeon said the first time she was aware of the allegations was when she read about them in the paper.

The First Minister said: “I had no knowledge of Michelle Thomson’s business dealings until, like everybody else, I read it in the Sunday Times.

“Serious issues have been raised here. Michelle Thomson maintains that all of her business dealings were entirely within the law. She is, as I understand it, not under investigation by the police at this stage.

“She has decided she wants to step aside from the SNP until this investigation is concluded and I think that is the right thing for her to have done.”

When asked if this was “embarrassing” for the party Sturgeon admitted: “I don’t want to be in a situation where any elected representative is stepping aside because there is an investigation of any nature into aspects of their business dealings.

“I am not going to comment on detail that I am not in full knowledge of and [given] that there is a police investigation under way, it would be inappropriate to do so.”

Thomson’s solicitor, Christopher Hales, was struck off at the Scottish Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (SSDT) for professional misconduct involving 13 transactions in 2010 and 2011. All 13 of those transactions are connected in some way to Thomson.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie said questions needed to be asked about why it had taken so long for the Law Society and the Crown Office to seek an inquiry.

Hales was struck off in July 2014, but it took until December before the Law Society “informally” passed their concerns to the Crown Office before following them up “formally” seven months later.

“We need a full statement in Parliament from the Lord Advocate. There are already concerns about how the Crown Office has handled this case,” Baillie said. “We need to know what action was taken when the Law Society of Scotland first ‘informally’ made the Crown Office aware of its concerns about Michelle Thomson’s property deals in December 2014 and then formally in July 2015. We also need to know whether there were any delays between when the Crown Office was first made aware of the allegations and when it instructed Police Scotland to investigate.”

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society, said: “We acknowledge that there was an internal delay in the report reaching the committee, this was due to staff workloads, however, there was no delay once the committee had made its decision to report the matter to the Crown Office.

“We will examine our processes to see if there are any improvements we can make in how we report findings from the SSDT to the Crown Office where there are concerns that there may have been criminal activity.”

In a statement released on Tuesday Thomson insisted she had “always acted within the law”.