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.
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.”
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…
The SNP wasted no time in throwing their disgraced MP Michelle Thomson under a bus during her property scandal back in September. The allegations surfacing against Natalie McGarry yesterday have also warranted a police investigation, so Scottish Labour have demanded consistency from Nicola Sturgeon:
The allegations about missing donations to Women for Independence (WFI) are very concerning. The alleged involvement of the SNP MP Natalie McGarry only adds to the seriousness of this situation.
When details emerged about the police investigation into property deals involving the SNP MP Michelle Thomson you said: “There is now a police investigation under way into these matters… Michelle Thomson has decided to step aside from the SNP while that investigation is undertaken. I think that is the right thing for her to have opted to do.”
Given that it was right that Michelle Thomson’s membership of the SNP was suspended during a police investigation, can you confirm that it is also right that the same standard will now apply to Natalie McGarry? People in Scotland would be surprised if no precautionary action is taken against Ms McGarry, given the serious nature of the allegations and the involvement of the police.
Sturgeon said it was right for Thomson to stand down because she was being questioned as part of a police investigation. Well, now McGarry is facing a police probe as well. Will she last the day?
A very curious story developing up in Scotland, where an SNP MP is cooperating with the police after thousands of pounds went missing from her pro-Indy campaign group. Unpopular Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East, was one of the founding members of “Women for Independence”. According to the Daily Record, she “was responsible for looking after their finances in the early days”. Yet after tens of thousands of pounds went unaccounted for, McGarry’s lawyer was forced to confirm she would cooperate with a police probe:
Even more curiously, McGarry this afternoon decided to ‘protect’ her Twitter account from being viewed by others, citing angry tweeters:
Curiouser and curiouser…