Ex-MP had ‘no idea’ £2,000 cheque had not been paid properly, trial told

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Natalie McGarry is on trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court (PA) (PA Archive)
Natalie McGarry is on trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court (PA) (PA Archive)

A former SNP MP has told a court she had “no idea” thousands of pounds transferred into her account to go towards a campaign group’s media training was never paid properly.

A cheque for £2,000 was paid to Natalie McGarry from the Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) of the SNP, of which she was treasurer, secretary and convener.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the sum was meant for a payment to Enterprise Screen Productions for the group’s media training, but it was never paid.

McGarry, 40, told her trial: “I can only say this is the one issue that I have to hold my hands up for, for not following through with properly.

“I had no idea this cheque had not been paid properly.”

McGarry, a former Glasgow East MP, is accused of embezzling £21,000 while treasurer of Women for Independence (WFI) between April 23, 2013 and November 30, 2015.

They were family friends, of course I had no intention of not paying them

Natalie McGarry, to court

A second charge alleges she took £4,662 between April 9, 2014 and August 2015 when she was treasurer, secretary and convener of the GRA.

McGarry, of Clarkston, denies both charges.

Allan Macleod, defending, asked McGarry on Friday if the failure to pay the balance of £2,000 was an omission.

She replied: “Yes.”

The court heard a family friend of McGarry’s worked at Enterprise Screen Productions, which she said is one of the reasons why the campaign group chose to use it for media training.

Mr Macleod continued: “Did you deliberately withhold that money for personal purposes?”

McGarry replied: “Absolutely not. They were family friends, of course I had no intention of not paying them.”

Earlier, McGarry told the court she had found juggling her responsibilities “overwhelming” as she managed campaigning for the 2015 election and her WFI duties.

The trial, before Sheriff Tom Hughes, continues.

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