Image caption, Natalie McGarry denies embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-independence groups

A former MP has told a court she forgot to pay a bill for media training, after £2,000 was paid into her personal bank account.

A jury heard Natalie McGarry, 40, made a cheque out to herself from a Glasgow SNP branch in April 2015.


Ms McGarry who was treasurer of the Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) at the time, said it was not deliberate.

She denies charges of embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-independence groups.

Glasgow Sheriff Court court heard that Ms McGarry had organised media training for potential SNP candidates prior to the 2015 general election.

The jury was was shown a range of cheques made out by the GRA.

Defence counsel Allan MacLeod asked Ms McGarry: “You have a cheque to you on 28 April for £2,000 what was that for?”

She replied: “This is my error, we had media training earlier on that month and we used the company Enterprise Screen.”

The court heard that the training bill from Enterprise Screen was not paid.

Ms McGarry said: “It wasn’t until 2018 when I saw the charges, I had no idea this bill was not paid.

“I was going to pay it through my bank account but the date was before the election. I was waiting on feedback and the company didn’t send a reminder.”

Mr MacLeod asked if she deliberately withheld the money.

Ms McGarry replied: “No, absolutely not, it was just before my election as an MP and I had used them before and they are a family friend, I didn’t have no intention to pay.”

The former Glasgow East MP was earlier asked why the cheque for £2,000 did not match the stub which read: “Shettleston SNP for £250.”

She said she was “bad at filling in” cheque stubs.

Ms McGarry was also quizzed about a £600 cheque payment from the GRA to a property firm that surveyed her constituency office.

Jurors earlier heard that the parliamentary expenses body covered this bill and reimbursed Ms McGarry.

But she claimed that parliamentary expenses had not been paid for several flights to London costing £600.

Ms McGarry, from Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, is said to have embezzled £21,000 while treasurer for Women for Independence between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.

A second charge states that she took £4,661 between April 2014 and August 2015 while she was treasurer, secretary and convenor of the GRA.

Ms McGarry was elected as the SNP MP in 2015, but later served as an independent MP. She did not contest the seat in the 2017 general election.

The trial before Sheriff Tom Hughes continues.