Peter Murrell was SNP chief executive for more than two decades

For years Peter Murrell was one half of the husband and wife team that took the SNP to success in election after election.

He served as chief executive of the party for more than two decades, holding the post from 1999 until he stepped down in 2023.

His wife, Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile rose to become its leader, and in 2014 was appointed Scotland’s first ever female first minister.

The couple met through their work with the SNP in the late 1980s, and were first announced to be in a relationship in early 2003.

They married in 2010 in Glasgow, while Ms Sturgeon was deputy leader of the party and serving as the Scottish Government’s health secretary.

Prior to taking on the chief executive’s job in 1999 – the year of the first ever Holyrood elections –  Murrell had worked in the constituency office of Alex Salmond, the then leader of the SNP.

The former top official was regarded by many as having played a key role in transforming the party’s fortunes, helping to modernise SNP operations.

The party has become the dominant force in Scottish politics, seizing power at Holyrood in 2007 and winning every election since then.

While membership has fallen from the peak of about 125,000 achieved in 2018, it remains the largest political party north of the border.

However after over eight years in the top job, Ms Sturgeon, who was at the time Scotland’s longest serving first minister, announced in February 2023 she was stepping down from the post and as SNP leader.

Murrell then quit as party chief executive the following month during the contest to replace her.