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by Kirsteen Paterson
19 April 2023
SNP treasurer Colin Beattie quits role after arrest

SNP treasurer Colin Beattie quits role after arrest

The treasurer of the SNP has quit his role one day after being arrested in a probe over party finances.

Colin Beattie MSP has announced he will leave the post "with immediate effect".

The former financier will also step down as a member of the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit Committee. However, he intends to resume this role when the police investigation into SNP finances concludes.

Beattie, 71, was released without charge on Tuesday as detectives continue their inquiry into party funds. Former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, the husband of Nicola Sturgeon, was also arrested and released without charge as part of the same inquiry.

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

Beattie said: "This afternoon I informed the party leader that I will be stepping back from my role as SNP national treasurer with immediate effect.

This decision has not been easy

"I have also informed the SNP chief whip at Holyrood that I will be stepping back from my role on the Public Audit Committee until the police investigation has concluded.

"On a personal level, this decision has not been easy, but it is the right decision to avoid further distraction to the important work being led by Humza Yousaf to improve the SNP’s governance and transparency.

"I will continue to cooperate fully with Police Scotland’s enquiries and it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on a live case."

Yousaf said he was "surprised" by Beattie's arrest on Tuesday, telling reporters he has not been suspended from the SNP.

Officers are investigating how more than £600,000 in donations raised to fight a future independence referendum campaign has been spent.

Beattie's statement was released to the media this afternoon.

A new treasurer will be appointed as soon as possible

Commenting, Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the SNP was "still refusing to take the basic step fo suspending MSPs who are the subject of police inquiries". She said: "This is the right decision, made by the wrong man.

"While Humza Yousaf played for time and failed to do the right thing, Colin Beattie at least could see the writing on the wall."

In a statement of his own, Yousaf said: "I want to offer my thanks to Colin. I know that his decision to step back from the role of SNP national treasurer will not have been an easy one, but he has done so in the best interest of the party. A new treasurer will be appointed as soon as possible."

 

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