SNP treasurer Colin Beattie arrested during investigation into party's finances

SNP treasurer Colin Beattie, 71 has been arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation into the party’s finances, Police Scotland has confirmed.

Mr Beattie is the MSP for the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency and has served as the SNP’s treasurer for 16 years.

He briefly stepped back from his role after being defeated in an internal election by Douglas Chapman in 2020, but returned to his post when Mr Chapman resigned a year later.

Mr Chapman announced his resignation on Twitter, and wrote: ‘Despite having a resounding mandate from members to introduce more transparency into the party’s finances, I have not received the support or financial information to carry out the fiduciary duties of National Treasurer.

‘Regretfully I have resigned with immediate effect.’

Between 2017 and 2020, the SNP raised a total of £666,953 through referendum-related appeals.

The party pledged to spend these funds on the independence campaign.

However, questions were raised after its accounts showed it had just under £97,000 in the bank at the end of 2019, prompting calls for the party to explain how it had accounted for the missing funds.

Mr Beattie’s arrest comes two weeks after Peter Murrell, husband of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, was also arrested as part of the investigation into the SNP’s funding.

Mr Murrell was detained by police for over 11 hours, but was later released without charge pending further investigation.

‘Leaked’ audio shared by The Mail on Sunday allegedly shows Nicola Sturgeon telling officials to stop asking about the Scottish National Party’s financial situation.

In it, she allegedly says: ‘We don’t need to talk about the finances. The finances are absolutely fine.’

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.

‘A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

‘The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

‘As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.’

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