Police have arrested Colin Beattie, the treasurer of the Scottish Nationwide get together and a member of the devolved Edinburgh parliament, as a part of an investigation into the funds of Scotland’s dominant political pressure.
The arrest of Beattie, who was first elected SNP treasurer in 2004, will heighten stress on the get together and overshadow a speech by new Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf afterward Tuesday by which he goals to set out his agenda for presidency.
The transfer follows the arrest this month of former SNP chief government Peter Murrell, the husband of ex-first minister Nicola Sturgeon. Murrell was launched with out cost pending additional investigation.
Requested by journalists within the Scottish parliament in regards to the arrest, Yousaf stated he couldn’t touch upon a stay police investigation, however that it was “clearly a really critical matter certainly”.
“In fact I’m stunned when one in all my colleagues has been arrested,” he added, saying he was nonetheless decided to “articulate what my imaginative and prescient is as the brand new chief and a recent begin for the federal government”.
Police Scotland, the nationwide pressure, stated it arrested a 71-year-old man on Tuesday “as a suspect in reference to the continuing investigation into the funding and funds of the Scottish Nationwide get together” and that he was in custody and being questioned by detectives.
An individual accustomed to the scenario confirmed the arrested man was Beattie, who has served because the member for the Scottish parliament’s Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency since 2011.
Police have been investigating the SNP since 2021 after receiving complaints associated to donations to the get together. Donors claimed cash given throughout independence referendum fundraising appeals in 2017 and 2019 was spent by the get together on different issues.
The SNP had instructed that greater than £600,000 raised by means of the particular appeals was “ringfenced” for a referendum marketing campaign, however filings to the Electoral Fee, the impartial watchdog, confirmed that on the finish of 2019 the get together had lower than £100,000 in money and money equivalents.
In 2020, Beattie was succeeded as SNP nationwide treasurer by MP Douglas Chapman. However Chapman resigned the subsequent yr saying he had not “acquired the help or monetary info” he wanted and Beattie resumed the position.
The SNP stated it declined to touch upon a stay police investigation.
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour deputy chief, stated it was “yet one more deeply regarding improvement”. “For too lengthy, a tradition of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester on the coronary heart of the SNP,” she added.
Labour sees the SNP’s woes as a chance to rebuild help in Scotland, accusing the ruling get together of presiding over “utter chaos” after Sturgeon’s sudden resignation announcement in February.
Opposition events have referred to as for the SNP to droop from its membership anybody focused within the police investigation, however Yousaf stated his premise was that folks had been “harmless till confirmed responsible”.
Nonetheless, he added he would search to debate with Beattie his roles as get together treasurer and on the Scottish parliament’s public audit committee after he was launched by police. “Clearly there are pertinent points,” stated Yousaf.
In his speech to the Edinburgh parliament setting out his priorities for presidency, Yousaf is anticipated to postpone the introduction of a contentious bottle deposit return scheme that many Scottish meals and drinks firms have warned might be unworkable.