Former SNP MP embezzled £25,000 from Yes groups

Auslan Cramb
Natalie McGarry leaving court in Glasgow - PA

A former SNP MP has admitted embezzling more than £25,600 from pro-independence organisations, including money intended for a food bank.

Natalie McGarry, 37, took money from the Women for Independence group and the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP, between April 2013 and November 2015.

She embezzled £21,000 from Women for Independence in her role as treasurer of the organisation, which was established in the run-up to the 2014 referendum.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard she transferred money raised through fundraising events into her personal accounts and failed to pass charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank, and to a group that helps people move away from offending.

She also used cheques drawn on the bank account of Women for Independence to deposit money in her own account.

The former MP admitted two charges of embezzlement Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

McGarry also admitted embezzling £4,661 while she was treasurer, secretary and convener of the SNP regional association in 2014, when she was part of the campaign for independence before the September referendum, and in 2015.

She was elected as an SNP MP in 2015 but resigned the party whip after the fraud allegations emerged and did not stand in the 2017 general election.

McGarry, who represented herself in court, originally faced three charges of embezzlement and a charge that she refused to give police the pass code for a mobile phone they had seized.

Her pleas of not guilty to another embezzlement charge and to the iPhone charge were accepted by the Crown.

The former MP asked Sheriff Paul Crozier to allow her time to get legal advice and he said he would not hear the “narrative” of her crimes on Wednesday, and allow her one week to speak to a solicitor.

Gerard Drugan, prosecuting, asked for a hearing seeking to confiscate money from McGarry, which will also take place next week

The case was adjourned until May 1.