Natalie McGarry, former SNP MP elected in 2015, but booted out of the party shortly later after she was charged with a number of fraud offences. She was found to have embezzled more than £25,600 from pro-independence organisations in Scotland, and has been jailed for 18 months. Shame there was an election in 2017, otherwise we could have been looking forward to another fun by-election…
Suspended SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been charged by the police in connection with alleged fraud offences. Och.
UPDATE: The charges are for embezzlement and breach of trust.
Readers will remember Natalie McGarry, the SNP MP who resigned the whip amid a police probe into her campaign’s financial irregularities. She’s the one who was questioned by Turkish special forces for recording the sound of bombs falling in Syria on her mobile. Not the brightest hope of the 2015 intake.
Today McGarry has agreed to pay £10,000 to charity for wrongly branding a unionist a “Holocaust denier”. She has apologised on her Twitter account:
Part of the agreement is that McGarry must ‘pin’ the apology to the top of her Twitter account for all to see for the next fortnight. Yet her account is locked, so at the moment her mea culpa is being kept hidden from the public. Classy…
Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry – now sitting as an independent after resigning the whip in disgrace – has apparently been arrested in Turkey. Local journalists say she was detained in the Sur district of Diyarbakir by Turkish Special Forces. McGarry is a pro-Kurdish campaigner who has been critical of the Turkish government.
Local reports suggest pro-Kurdish Glasgow MP @NatalieMcGarry has been detained upon her arrival in Diyarbakir, Turkey
— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) February 25, 2016
She’s already facing a police probe in Scotland over a missing money scandal. More as we get it…
UPDATE: Her office are refusing to comment on reports she was arrested, though she has now tweeted to say she is “safe“:
UPDATE II: Foreign Office confirms to Sky News that McGarry was arrested by Turkish special forces, her office say she has now been released.
UPDATE III: McGarry’s lawyer says in a statement:
“Natalie McGarry was questioned earlier today but was released shortly thereafter… It appears that a member of the Turkish Security Forces became alarmed as Natalie had her mobile phone out at a security checkpoint. She was taken away for questioning and it was subsequently explained that she was simply recording the sounds of bombs falling across the border in Syria.”
SNP MP Natalie McGarry has bitten the bullet over her pro-Indy campaign group’s financial irregularities. Her solicitor says “she is fully aware that this will lead to automatic suspension from the SNP”. Read all Guido’s stories on McGarry here…
Nicola Sturgeon is considering action against scandal-hit Nat Natalie McGarry. The SNP leader told the BBC:
“Obviously I’m aware of the concern that Women for Independence has raised and has reported to the police about alleged discrepancies in their funding. These are of course very serious allegations. It’s also important to say that Natalie McGarry is adamant that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. Right now, beyond the generality of those concerns, I don’t have detail about the basis or the substance of them but I will consider and continue to consider the matter very carefully and if there is action I think the SNP are required to take then that action will be taken.”
Awkwardly, the complaints to the police about financial irregularities at McGarry’s Women for Independence campaign group were made by no fewer than seven SNP candidates. It is alleged that the only person with access to the group’s PayPal account, from which £30,000 went missing, was McGarry. The Glasgow East MP has since protected her Twitter account from public view, despite previously pledging to constituents that:
“Politicians need to be responsible to the people they represent, and that means being open and accessible … I won’t hide away behind closed doors”
Friends who can still see her tweets say her most recent posts are on her nuptial planning, buying a dress and going to wedding fayres. Meanwhile her Electoral Commission returns are being pored over as we speak…