Party in crisis

SNP treasurer Beattie arrested in finances probe

Arrested: Colin Beattie

SNP treasurer Colin Beattie has been arrested in connection with the police investigation into the funding and finances of the party.

Police Scotland said the 71-year-old was being held in custody and is being questioned by detectives.

The inquiry is focused on what happened to more than £600,000 in donations to the party’s independence campaign.

Mr Beattie’s arrest follows police questioning Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell, the former party chief executive, who was arrested and later released pending further enquiries.

The couple’s Glasgow home and party headquarters in Edinburgh were also searched.

Mr Beattie has been the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh since 2011. 

A Police Scotland statement said: ‘”A 71-year-old man has today, Tuesday, 18 April 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.

“The man is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “This is yet another deeply concerning development and the Police Scotland investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.

“For too long, a culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester at the heart of the SNP.

“And while the investigation spreads, the SNP is still refusing to take the basic step of suspending MSPs who are the subject of police inquiries.

“Humza Yousaf’s inaction raises questions – is his priority the cover up to protect the SNP or the people of Scotland?”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “The police investigation into the SNP’s murky finances is consuming the party – and Humza Yousaf has to get a grip of the situation, rather than stand by wringing his hands. 

“He must show some leadership and suspend Colin Beattie – along with Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon. 

“That is the precedent the party set when politicians such as of Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry were under investigation – and it must be followed here, for the benefit of everyone.

“Colin Beattie should also stand down from membership of the Public Audit Committee until the conclusion of the investigation.

“This extremely serious matter is escalating by the day and everyone in the SNP has a duty to be as transparent as possible about what they knew and when.”  

In May 2021 SNP MP Douglas Chapman resigned as the party’s treasurer, saying he had not been given enough information to do his job. Joanna Cherry, a vocal internal critic of the party’s leadership, also resigned from her role on the national executive committee.

…more follows

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