Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘rock’: As Scotland’s First Minister announces shock resignation, FEMAIL reveals the family members who have supported her in 8 years at the top – including ‘tarot card reading’ sister who ‘doesn’t do politics’
- Nicola Sturgeon is close with her parents and sister who are ‘very proud’ of her
- She is married to Peter Murrell, chief executive of the Scottish National Party
- Read more: Tearful Nicola Sturgeon QUITS as SNP leader
After Nicola Sturgeon suddenly revealed she will be stepping down as Scotland’s first minister after eight years in charge, she will no doubt have a little more time to spend with her family.
As she announced her resignation at a press conference, she praised her loved ones, saying: ‘Few people understand the price families of politicians pay for the jobs we choose to do. Mine have been my rock throughout.’
For the most part, the 52-year-old politician has kept her loved ones out of the limelight during her time at the top of Scottish politics.
However, she has at times revealed details about her family members, as well as the fertility issues she and her husband have experienced while criticising questions she receives about motherhood.
She and her husband Peter Murrell, 58, do not have children, but the first minister was praised in 2016 when she spoke openly and emotively about how she’d suffered a miscarriage in 2011.
Nicola Sturgeon dramatically quit as SNP leader today as she paid tribute to her family who have been her ‘rock’ during her time as first minister
The politician also has a younger sister, named Gillian, who is active on TikTok and has praised her politician sibling’s achievements, while also admitting she ‘doesn’t do politics’ herself.
While Gillian stays out of matters at Holyrood, politics certainly runs in Nicola’s veins, as the sisters were born to a politician mother Joan, 70, who is provost of North Ayrshire – although she wasn’t elected to the position until her daughter had become first minister.
Nicola Sturgeon’s father Robin has also run for political office as an SNP candidate – although he lost out to a Scottish Labour rival in the Irvine West council by-election in 2016.
Here, FEMAIL takes a closer look at Nicola Sturgeon’s family life as she steps down after nearly a decade at the top…
Peter Murrell – husband
Nicola Sturgeon is married to SNP chief executive Peter Murrell (pictured on their wedding day in 2010)
Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell were ranked the second most powerful political couple in Britain just yesterday by Politico.
The magazine cited Sturgeon’s position as the most powerful politician in Scotland, combined with Murrell’s role as chief executive of the Scottish National Party as the reason for their high ranking.
Sturgeon and Murrell met for the first time when they were just 18 years old at an event for Young Scottish Nationalists in Aberdeenshire. However, the pair did not begin their relationship until 2003, and married in 2010 at a ceremony in Glasgow.
At the time of Sturgeon’s election as leader of the SNP, which was uncontested within the party, concerns were raised about her relationship with Murrell. However, the first minister promptly dismissed any suggestion that her personal relationship had anything to do with her rise to the top.
Murrell’s role as chief executive of the party puts him in charge of the inner workings of its HQ, according to the Herald.
Despite his high-profile role within the party, Murrell rarely gives interviews, and even more scarcely comments on his marriage to the most powerful woman in Scotland.
However, the Express reports he revealed a few details about his home and married life to ITV News Scotland in 2016.
‘Usually Nicola is in charge of the remote,’ he joked.
In the same interview, he defended his wife over questions she has received while in power about why she does not have children.
‘It’s just one of those questions that a female politician would get asked,’ he said.
‘A man would never get asked the same [questions] with clothes or hair or anything else.’
At the press conference announcing her resignation, Nicola Sturgeon refused to answer questions about a police probe into alleged fraud involving the party.
The SNP is subject to an investigation into whether £600,000 earmarked for independence campaigning was diverted elsewhere in 2021.
The outgoing First Minister has faced questions in recent weeks over a loan of £107,000 made by Peter Murrell to the party, of which he is chief executive.
Challenged over the loan last week, the FM said she ‘can’t recall’ when she first discovered he had given money.
Gillian Sturgeon – sister
Sturgeon’s younger sister is Gillian Sturgeon, who describes herself as a business owner and appears to dabble in ‘tarot readings’
While her older sibling governs the nation in Holyrood, Gillian Sturgeon stays out of the limelight and focuses on her own work in spirituality, which appears to include tarot readings. She describes herself as a business owner on her TikTok profile.
By her own admission, she ‘doesn’t do politics’, but she has recently revealed how proud she is of Nicola in a TikTok video.
Earlier this month she published a video answering the question: ‘What’s it like having the first minister as your sister?’
She said: ‘It’s good… I don’t look upon her as that though, really. She is my sister, she is my closest friend, probably.
‘Even though we don’t get much time together, we are in contact a lot and she’s my rock. She definitely is.’
Although she admitted her sister’s rise to the top was ‘weird at first’, the family has now got used to her position.
‘If you’re out and about with her, it’s manic. It really is,’ she explained.
Despite getting to grips with Nicola’s profile, mother-of-two Gillian admitted she ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of her big sister and said she was ‘honoured’ to be her sibling.
In another video, posted a few days earlier, she revealed she had been trolled by ‘haters’ on TikTok and and responded with a message for them.
#scottishtiktok #fyp #liveyourbestlife #xybzca #dontdopolitics #scottishpolitics
She said: ‘I may be related to the most powerful women in Britain; one of the most powerful women in the world, however I am me.
‘I don’t do politics. I do make-up. I do glam. I do fun. I do survival.’
In contrast, she told her haters they spent their days scrolling through social media trying to find ‘strong women’ they can ‘bring down’.
Overall her TikTok videos encourage people to get in touch with their spiritual side, with her most recent clip inviting followers to book tarot readings. She also often speaks about women’s empowerment.
There is a flirty side to some of her videos, with Gillian miming along to songs including Meghan Trainor’s Made You Look with suggestive dance moves. She has also made jokes about a leaked OnlyFans channel and being blackmailed over nude photos, however she does not explain further.
In 2021, Gillian was arrested and charged for spitting in her ex Steven Waite’s face, but the charges were later dropped.
The Scottish Sun reported she revealed in a Facebook video that she deserved to be punished for what she had done, calling her own behaviour ‘disgusting’ and ‘vulgar’.
She said: ‘It was during Covid. I agree I should have been punished.
‘There is no excuse. I’m disgusted with myself.’
However she added the incident could have been ‘worse’ and insisted she was ‘not a violent person’.
Mr Waite was also charged over the incident, but these charged were later dropped too.
Joan and Robin Sturgeon – parents
Nicola’s parents Joan and Robin (pictured with their daughter at the SNP conference in 2015) have said they are ‘very proud’ of their daughter
Joan Sturgeon is a politician much like her eldest daughter, serving as the provost of North Ayrshire since 2012. Provost is the title given to the civic heads of local governments within Scotland.
The former dental nurse first entered politics in 2007 when she was elected to the North Ayrshire council in the Scottish local elections to represent Irvine East, and sat on the council for 10 years.
Nicola’s father Robin also made an attempt at breaking into politics, but his bid fell flat when he stood as an SNP candidate for a council by-election in Irvine West in 2016 and was defeated by Labour candidate Louise McPhater.
The first minister appears to have a close relationship with her mother, with the pair speaking publicly about each other during the coronavirus lockdowns to say how much they missed each other’s company.
Speaking to the Sunday Mail in April 2020 during the first lockdown, Joan said: ‘I’m very protective of Nicola and I just want to give her a hug. It’s how we all feel right now. Everybody’s in the same position.
‘We worry about her. We worry about the burden that she carries, as any parent would.’
She added she and her husband Robin watched the first minister’s coronavirus briefings ‘every day’ to look for ‘signs she is maybe not feeling right’ – something she said any mother would have been feeling at the time.
During the same lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon revealed in a radio interview that she was desperate to see and hug her parents again.
She told Radio Clyde: ‘Giving my mum and dad a hug, and hug my niece and go and wish my nephew a proper happy birthday, see my mother-in-law who’s in a particularly vulnerable position…
‘All these things, just like everybody else, I really look forward to do – you’re going to make me emotional now.’
In happier times, Joan and Robin have praised their daughter’s success after the SNP came to dominate the political landscape in Scotland and had a run of hugely successful election results.
Speaking to Sky News in April 2015, they revealed they were very proud indeed’ of their daughter.
When asked by Kay Burley if his daughter ever calls him for advice, he joked: ‘No, she never does. I’ve offered my help but no. I think I would just spoil things,’ before laughing.
However in contrast Joan said: ‘She rings me every night, even if just to say. ‘I’m home, how are you?’ she always has done from when she left home at 18 to go to university.
‘She’s a fantastic daughter. She’s caring and always wants to know if we’re ok.’
Robin admitted he feels protective of his daughter when she is up against criticism from opponents. However, he admitted he has to ‘hold [himself] back’ and ‘hold [his] tongue’.
Open about her miscarriage
The first minister revealed in 2016 that she had suffered a miscarriage five years earlier in what she described as a ‘painful experience’ for herself and her husband
The Scottish first minister was praised in 2016 for opening up about suffering a miscarriage in 2011 shortly after tying the knot to Peter Murrell.
Speaking to author Mandy Rhodes for her contribution to the Scottish Leaders book, Sturgeon revealed the ‘painful’ experience of losing a baby.
In the book, which was serialised in The Sunday Times, she revealed that she decided to carry on with public engagements after the miscarriage, including marking the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox football stadium disaster on January 3, 2011.
Photographs from the event show her wearing a woollen overcoat and looking distressed.
She said: ‘If the miscarriage hadn’t happened, would I be sitting here as First Minister right now?
‘It’s an unanswerable question, I just don’t know.
‘I’ve thought about it but I don’t know that answer. I’d like to think “yes” because I could have shown that having a child wasn’t a barrier to all this, but in truth I don’t know.’
Throughout her career the politician has criticised questions about why she isn’t a mother, arguing male politicians would not be questioned about parenthood in the same manner.
In 2015 she criticised the New Statesman for its depiction of her on its front cover as a ‘childless politician’, painted with others who are not parents standing around a crib containing a ballot box.
Ms Sturgeon said she had not discussed her miscarriage in public before because she did not want to be defined by it. An intensely private person, she said she was aware that some girls who look to her as a role model may conclude that women must sacrifice part of their lives to climb the career ladder.
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