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Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry loses bid to withdraw guilty pleas

McGarry had pleaded guilty to embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-Independence organisations.

Natalie McGarry: The 37-year-old is in court.
Natalie McGarry: The 37-year-old is in court.

A sheriff has refused to allow former SNP MP Natalie McGarry to withdraw her guilty pleas to charges of embezzlement.

McGarry last week pleaded guilty to embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-Independence organisations.

The 37-year-old had been representing herself but her new solicitor, Allan Macleod, requested for both pleas to be withdrawn.

The former MP for Glasgow East claimed she had no choice but to tender a plea as the circumstances were prejudicial against her.

Court: McGarry had pleaded guilty.
Court: McGarry had pleaded guilty. STV

McGarry embezzled £21,000 from Women for Independence in her role as treasurer of the organisation.

She also stole £4661 in the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 9 2014 and August 10 2015.

McGarry originally faced a third charge of embezzlement and a charge she refused to give police the pass code for a mobile phone they had seized but the Crown accepted her not guilty pleas to those charges.

She was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip following the emergence of fraud allegations - which she denied at the time - continuing in Parliament as an independent.

McGarry was charged by police in 2017 over alleged fraud relating to potential missing funds from Women for Independence, which was set up in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the SNP's Glasgow Regional Association.

The case has been adjourned until May 10.

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