Natalie McGarry denies involvement in missing Women for Independence cash

An SNP frontbench spokeswoman at the centre of a police investigation into missing donations worth tens of thousands of pounds from the Women for Independence group has denied any “wrong-doing”.

MP Natalie McGarry. Picture: John Devlin

Questions have been raised about the role played by the Glasgow East SNP Natalie McGarry in the Women for Independence (WFI) campaign, after the organisation said it had identified a discrepancy between its donation income and its expenditure. The campaign group was launched in 2012 ahead of the independence referendum by prominent Yes activists including Ms McGarry, the SNP’s spokeswoman on disability issues at Westminster.

However, the group said its ruling national committee had now been informed of missing donations it stated had emergedin an audit of its finances, and that this has been passed to Police Scotland.

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Solicitor Aamer Anwar, speaking on behalf of the SNP MP, last night said: “Natalie McGarry MP is aware that suggestions of reported discrepancies in the accounts of ‘Women for Independence’ have been passed to Police Scotland.

Women for Independence campaigning during the lead-up to the referendum. Picture: John Devlin

“This morning I contacted Police Scotland at Natalie’s request to advise them that she is ready to meet with them should they wish to.”

Meanwhile, the SNP said it was aware of the discrepancies in WFI’s finances.

An SNP spokeswoman: “The SNP are aware of reported discrepancies in the accounts of Women for Independence; however we have yet to see the detail behind these claims.”

The investigation comes after Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson – the former managing director of Business for Scotland – resigned the SNP whip whilst police investigate property deals she was involved in.

However, the SNP leadership is now facing calls to suspend Ms McGarry from the party while the Police Scotland investigation is carried out.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “If it is the case that police are investigating this MP, then the SNP must suspend her immediately.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “These are very serious issues and there are very serious questions to answer. It feels like we have been here before. When the allegations into Michelle Thomson surfaced, it took weeks to sort out who knew what when and for the truth about links between Business for Scotland and the SNP to come out.

“Given the number of high-profile SNP figures involved in Women for Independence we need to know who knew what and when.”

Police Scotland confirmed it had received a report about WFI and was conducting an investigation.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “A report has been received and the matter is currently under investigation.”

WFI is one of the few pro-

independence organisations that have continued to campaign for constitutional change despite the No vote last year.

The group said: “We have identified an apparent discrepancy between our income (via donations) and the expenditure which we have evidence of.”