Natalie McGarry: Ex-MP who stole from the movement behind her rise to prominence

By Laura Paterson, Press Association Scotland

Born and brought up in Inverkeithing, Fife, Natalie McGarry studied law at Aberdeen University before working in HR, as a community officer for unemployed parents and as a policy adviser in the voluntary sector.

She rose to prominence politically after helping set up Women for Independence in 2012, an organisation which aimed to represent women’s voices and interests in the campaign for Scottish independence.

She contested the 2014 Cowdenbeath Holyrood by-election for the SNP, held following the death of sitting Labour MSP Helen Eadie.

McGarry campaigning with then first minister Alex Salmond ahead of the by-election (David Cheskin/PA)

McGarry lost out to Alex Rowley, who held the seat for Labour with a majority of 5,488.

The following year she was elected as an SNP MP representing Glasgow East, and she was appointed the party’s Westminster spokeswoman for disabilities, a post she held for seven months.

In February 2016, the pro-Kurdish politician was briefly detained by security forces in Turkey.

Her lawyer said Turkish special forces became “alarmed” since she had her mobile phone out near a security checkpoint.

He said she was “recording the sound of bombs” from Turkish forces falling on a Kurdish area of Sur in Diyarbaki.

Four months later, she caused a stir in the House of Commons by voting in her wedding dress, having just had her marriage to Glasgow Conservative councillor David Meikle blessed in the Parliament’s St Mary Undercroft chapel.

McGarry joined First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the campaign trail ahead of the 2015 general election (Danny Lawson/PA)

She resigned the party whip as fraud allegations against her emerged – which she denied at the time – and she continued in Parliament as an independent.

She did not seek re-election in 2017.