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17 May 2017, 11:25
Nicola Sturgeon has repeated her backing for an SNP candidate who is subject to an investigation by Scotland's legal watchdog amid further calls for her to be suspended.
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the party's candidate for Ochil and South Perthshire in the General Election, confirmed last week the Law Society of Scotland is looking into ''administrative matters'' relating to her time as a solicitor.
The Scottish Daily Mail newspaper, in which news of the probe first emerged, reported on Wednesday it relates to ``financial impropriety involving a trust fund set up to help a vulnerable person''.
Opposition parties repeated their calls for Ms Ahmed-Sheikh to be suspended but Ms Sturgeon said the investigation does not mean "wrongdoing'' has taken place.
On the election trail in Musselburgh, East Lothian, the SNP leader told BBC Scotland: "The Law Society investigates many, many complaints about solicitors every year and just because a complaint is raised and an investigation is under way does not mean there has been wrongdoing on the part on the part of the lawyer concerned.
"It's important that these matters are fully and robustly investigated, that's part of the role of the Law Society, so they should be allowed to get on with that investigation and come to a conclusion.''
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: "This whole episode stinks. It's quite clear that the SNP should withdraw all support from Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh in this election.
"However, there are now growing questions over the way Nicola Sturgeon handled this matter.
"The SNP must now come clean. A failure to do so will demonstrate once again that they are trying to take the voters of Scotland for a ride.''
Scottish Labour General Election campaign manager James Kelly said: "This is a devastating allegation. Quite simply, Nicola Sturgeon must immediately suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.
"There is no more time for prevarication from the SNP leadership - any further delays in suspending Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh would be completely unacceptable.
"Nicola Sturgeon can no longer stand by her candidate in Ochil and South Perthshire.''
In a statement issued last week, Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said: ''I'm proud of my 17-year career in the legal profession.
"I am aware that issues have been raised with the Law Society in relation to administrative matters during my time at my former firm.
"The Law Society has a duty to uphold professional standards and they must be allowed to do so without prejudice.
"In the meantime, I'm getting on with fighting this election campaign and seeking re-election to stand up for the people of Ochil and South Perthshire.''